Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

‘Insensitive, callous’: Marcos criticized over ‘luxurious’ Singapore Grand Prix trip

Dwight de Leon
‘Insensitive, callous’: Marcos criticized over ‘luxurious’ Singapore Grand Prix trip

F1 SINGAPORE. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. flies to Singapore to watch the Grand Prix on October 2, 2022.

LEE HSIEN LOONG

"Little did we know that when President Marcos said 'full speed ahead,' he was referring to the Singapore Grand Prix!" says Liberal Party president and lawmaker Edcel Lagman

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is receiving heavy flak over his trip to Singapore to watch the Formula 1 night race Sunday, October 2.

Described by the chief executive’s critics in the legislature as “luxurious,” the trip had been seemingly kept secret for days until Malacañang on Monday, October 3, confirmed Marcos was indeed at the Singapore Grand Prix.

The Singapore Grand Prix is an elite motor racing event and the first of the night races in Asia which are part of the Formula One World Championship. 

Liberal Party president and House 1st District Albay Representative Edcel Lagman told Rappler that the visit shows “Marcos’ priorities are flawed and his sense of governance is wanting.”

“Little did we know that when President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said ‘full speed ahead,’ he was referring to the Singapore Grand Prix!” said Lagman, referring to a line by Marcos during first State of the Nation Address in July.

Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas shared similar sentiments, saying that his trip to Singapore came on the heels of economic woes in the Philippines.

“Floodwaters have not subsided in many rice fields hit by Typhoon Karding, but the President prioritized flying to Singapore to watch the F1 Grand Prix,” Brosas pointed out in a statement in Filipino.

“How privileged of Marcos Jr. that he has the budget for VIP access for him and his family, while many Filipinos have no food on the table due to the rising prices of goods,” she added. “Did the president use public funds for this personal trip? Is it true that he flew to Singapore on RPP1 PAF Gulfstream G280 ‘Command and Control’ aircraft?”

ACT Teachers Representative and House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro had the same question, calling on the Palace and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to issue a clarification.

“If indeed President Marcos Jr. used government resources for obviously personal, extravagant, and frivolous junket in time of economic hardship, then it is like a punch in the gut of hungry Filipinos,” Castro said. “As it is his whole Singapore Grand Prix trip is insensitive and callous in light of the suffering of Filipinos.”

Reporters have been asking Malacañang about the nature of the trip since early last week, but officials said they had “no information” about it.

But photos that circulated on social media on Sunday, as well as insider reports from Malacañang correspondents, confirmed that Marcos was indeed in the city-state.

Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angles said the trip was “productive,” without specifying whether it was a working or official visit.

Aside from the President, businessmen and other relatives were also included in his overseas trip, including First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos, his cousin House Speaker Martin Romualdez, and his son Ilocos Norte 1st District Representative Sandro Marcos.

General tickets for the event cost up to SG$1,288 (P52,840) for a three-day pass, while hospitality packages cost up to SG$9,898 (about P406,000), dependent on location of package and length of stay. – Rappler.com

Singapore dollar (SGD) 1 = Philippine peso (PHP) 41.12

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Dwight de Leon

Dwight de Leon is a multimedia reporter who covers local government units and the Commission on Elections for Rappler.