Unexpected music at Duterte's coronavirus briefing surprises viewers
President Rodrigo Duterte appeared to be wrapping up the coronavirus task force press briefing on Tuesday night, May 19, when things took an unexpected turn.
He motioned to his aides to ask if something was ready. Off-camera, a voice replied in the affirmative.
Before the public knew it, a song that Duterte said captures "the spirit that we have been longing for" and "what we feel for the moment" was played back.
Duterte, with head in his hand, looked very solemn and troubled.
He appeared to be listening intently to the song, which spoke of the travails of a person who had to protect his citizens and sacrifice his life to fight a deadly disease.
"Kailangan mo magpalakas para sila'y mailigtas, buwis ang iyong buhay, handang matanggap 'pag ika’y mamatay, asawa't anak na hindi masilayan, pamilya mong iiwang luhaan," goes a line from the song. (You need to get stronger to save them, your life is a sacrifice, you're ready to die, your spouse and child whom you can't see, your family you must leave in tears.)
The song described someone who must guard the streets and crack down on criminals.
"Ikaw ang bantay sa lagusan, protektahan ang mga mamayan. 'Di uubra ang susuway, mga kriminal at pasaway," it goes. (You are the guardian of the passageways who protects the citizens. The criminals and violators have no chance.)
Ironically, just minutes before, Duterte himself had cleared a senior police official of wrongdoing after he violated quarantine regulations. Metro Manila police chief Major General Debold Sinas already faces criminal charges for participating in a birthday celebration that breached rules on mask-wearing and physical distancing.
At one point during the playback, the camera inexplicably panned to Senator Bong Go, Duterte's longtime aide, who always joins the coronavirus task force meetings – even if he is not a member.
This is not the first time Duterte had a song played during an event broadcast to the public. Back in 2016 when he had just clinched the presidency, he had a song composed for him by folk musician Freddie Aguilar played during a press conference. The song described Duterte as a man who will bring true change to the Philippines and raise the country from darkness.
In most events, especially public ones, Aguilar's "Ipaglalaban Ko" often plays as Duterte's entrance music. The President loves songs that depict him as heroic and elevate him to the role of savior – and he wants everyone to hear them too.
The forced drama of the post-briefing music was not lost on netizens. One netizen questioned the need to play a song in the middle of a pandemic.
Footage of Duterte emoting to it was quickly turned into parody videos. Many replaced the song with popular songs by mainstream artists that conveyed, not a heroic leader, but an incompetent one.
In one of these parodies, Duterte is seen emoting to the tune of "Liability," a song by New Zealand artist Lorde. With the simple change, Duterte looked like he was troubled by guilt, and not by the challenge of fighting the virus.
In another video, Duterte looks like he is suffering from a headache induced by techno music. – Rappler.com
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