Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

‘Grave insult to commuters’: Marcos draws flak for chopper ride to Coldplay concert in Bulacan

Russell Ku

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‘Grave insult to commuters’: Marcos draws flak for chopper ride to Coldplay concert in Bulacan
(1st UPDATE) 'Recognizing that this traffic situation posed a potential threat to the security of our President, the PSG took decisive action by opting for the presidential chopper,' PSG chief Nelson Morales explains

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has drawn flak after he was spotted taking a chopper ride for Coldplay’s “Music of the Spheres” concert in Bulacan on Friday, January 19.

Eagle-eyed social media users who attended the Coldplay concert on Friday, January 19, recorded Marcos arriving via a presidential helicopter to watch the famous British rock band.

Videos of the scene shared online drew comparisons to the experience of regular concertgoers and even ordinary taxpayers who have to endure daily traffic in Metro Manila.

In a statement on Saturday, January 20, Presidential Security Group chief Major General Nelson Morales explained that due to “an unprecedented influx of 40,000 individuals” who attended the concert, as well as the “unforeseen traffic complications,” they decided to use the presidential chopper for Marcos. 

“Recognizing that this traffic situation posed a potential threat to the security of our President, the PSG took decisive action by opting for the presidential chopper,” Morales explained. 

“This decision not only ensured the safety of our leader but also exemplified our commitment to prioritizing security in the face of unexpected challenges,” he added.

Metro Manila recently topped the 2023 TomTom Traffic Index list of metro areas with the slowest travel time, taking an average time of 25 minutes and 30 seconds to travel 10 kilometers in the region. 

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan president Renato Reyes called Marcos’ actions a “grave insult to millions of Filipino commuters” amid the lack of a “progressive and pro-people” mass transportation system in the country.

“A president who takes a chopper to watch a concert amid terrible traffic and a mass transport crisis, will not sympathize with jeepney drivers, operators and commuters. This is the state of transportation in the Philippines today,” he added. 

Other users questioned the use of the helicopter as the trip would come from the pockets of ordinary taxpayers.

Filipinos online also pointed out the irony of the move as Coldplay’s “Music of the Spheres” world tour hopes to promote environmental sustainability through measures such as reusable LED wristbands and installation of electricity-generating power bikes and kinetic floors, among others.

Even Coldplay’s front man Chris Martin had something to say about the infamous Philippine traffic, thanking fans for braving it to see the band live.

“We’ve seen some traffic. But I think you have the number one [traffic] in the world. Thank you for making the effort to come through all of that bullshit to be here,” he said.

One concertgoer posted a video of Marcos’ reaction to Martin’s words. He was seen smiling and laughing as Martin spoke.

@lopezmiks When Chris Martin gets irritated by MNL traffic & PBBM hears it live 🫠🤭 #coldplay #coldplayconcert #traffic #philippinearena #coldplayphilippines #livenation #president ♬ original sound – miks 🥂

– Rappler.com

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  1. ET

    The Civil Service will sanction lower-ranked Philippine government officials who will use Official Vehicles for Private Events, except for President Marcos Jr. What an injustice? Or at least a partial or biased application of a rule.

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Russell Ku

Russell Ku is a digital communications specialist at Rappler who believes in the power of stories to build an empathic society.