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President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. wanted to reiterate his promise of a “Bagong Pilipinas” or a new Philippines more than 500 days since he assumed office, and in the process mounted a huge concert that is not exactly cheap.
Documents obtained by Rappler confirmed that the Presidential Communications Office spent at least P16.4 million for the rally at the Quirino Grandstand in Manila on Sunday, January 28.
Malacañang spent P15.9 million for the rental of technical equipment alone.
That price tag for the rental of tech equipment covered several things, such as the use of more than 100 speakers of different kinds, dozens of microphones, and dozens of LED wall panels.
The PCO conducted a public bidding for the project, which had a maximum budget of P16.4 million.
The winner of the contract was GDV Sounds and Lights Rental, which according to its website, is an “audio and lighting equipment provider for events.”
The company’s Facebook page indicates that the company has been Malacañang’s constant supplier since 2022, providing tech equipment for the following events:
- President Marcos’ inauguration in June 2022
- 2022 State of the Nation Address
- First Lady Liza Araneta Marcos’ birthday celebration in August 2022
- President Marcos’ birthday luncheon in September 2022
- conferment of “Chief Girl Scout” on the First Lady in November 2022
- LGBT Pride reception event in Malacañang in June 2023
- 2023 State of the Nation Address
- Konsyerto Sa Palasyo in March, June, and October 2023
There were also purchase orders for customized lanyards, huge tarpaulins, and whole-day meals for hundreds of PCO personnel.
Hefty price tag
The PCO allotted a maximum budget of P7.59 million for the procurement of tokens that were eventually distributed during the event.
Details on the final cost of the contract for tokens and the winning bidder are not immediately available, but a bid notice abstract showed that the public bidding for hoodie jackets and T-shirts failed.
PCO also initially allotted P5.3 million for entertainment services, but later canceled the bidding.
When the amounts in the bid documents that Rappler obtained were totaled, the budget for the single-day event surpassed P29 million.
Criticisms of excessiveness
The concert also featured dozens of performers and ended with a grand fireworks display. It’s unclear how much were spent for those.
Prior to the event, Rappler asked the PCO through the Malacañang Press Corps about the budget for the event, but no answer was given.
Critics have called the huge rally – which organizers said drew 400,000 people – mere pageantry that wasted taxpayers’ money.
“They say ‘Bagong Pilipinas’ but they’re stuck with their old ways, mounting a costly event just to deodorize the administration’s image,” Bayan president Renato Reyes said on Tuesday, January 30.
In an interview with Radyo 5 on Monday, January 29, PCO Assistant Secretary Joey Villarama, however, guaranteed there was nothing irregular about the project.
“For every activity of the PCO, there is allotted budget. We know that in government transactions, there is a bidding process. A market study was conducted for the service providers, food providers, all of it. It went through a process,” he said in Filipino.
In his speech during Sunday’s rally, Marcos said: “Sa bagong Pilipinas, bawal ang waldas (In a new Philippines, we won’t allow extravagance.”)
When does that promise start? – Rappler.com