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Marcos explains F1 Grand Prix trip days later, calls it 'best way to drum up business'

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Marcos explains F1 Grand Prix trip days later, calls it 'best way to drum up business'
This photo shared by Singapore Minister for Manpower Han See Leng shows President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. at the Singapore Grand Prix. Leng says he met with Marcos and other heads of States to "affirm our bilateral economic relationships and strengthen collaborations in energy cooperation as well as exchange views on manpower policies on the sidelines of the race."
Facebook / Han See Leng

MANILA, Philippines — Days after he left the country unannounced, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. admitted to having taken a trip to watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Singapore over the weekend but tried to justify it as "the best way to drum up business."

In an Instagram post late Monday night, the president called his trip — which the Palace did not confirm at the time despite queries from reporters — a "productive one."

Marcos' trip, criticized by agriculture stakeholders, was taken while several provinces were still grappling with the aftermath of Super Typhoon Karding. It was not made public through the Palace media, but Malacañang's official confirmation came after reports circulated on social media and triggered outrage. 

Photos show Marcos was accompanied by First Lady Liza Marcos, their son Rep. Sandro Marcos (Ilocos Norte),  and the latter's rumored girlfriend actress Alexa Miro. House Speaker Martin Romualdez (Leyte), the president's cousin, was also seen in some photos.

“They say that playing  golf is the best way to drum up business, but I say it’s Formula 1. What a productive weekend!” Marcos wrote in his social media post.

“It was fulfilling to have been invited alongside several dignitaries and to have met new business friends who showed that they are ready and willing to invest in the Philippines,” he also said.

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro (ACT Teachers) in a separate statement called on Malacañang and the military to clarify if the president used government resources for an “obviously personal, extravagant, and frivolous junket in times of economic hardship.”

 

Castro said the president’s trip was “like a punch in the gut of hungry Filipinos,” further calling it “insensitive and callous in light of the suffering of Filipinos.”

Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of Bayan, an alliance of progressive groups, questioned the late confirmation of Malacañang, calling the office as “either clueless as to the nature of the trip or Philippine officials were trying to hide the actual details of the trip.”

In his first few days of office, the chief executive was similarly questioned for holding two parties at the Malacañan.

In a separate Facebook post on Monday, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was pleased to see spectators from around the world visiting the city-state to attend the race, saying this signaled that “we have emerged from the pandemic and are open for business.”

“Happy to link up again with friends from both here and abroad. They were excited to be here, to watch the race and enjoy the good company," he wrote. 

— Franco Luna

FERDINAND MARCOS JR.

SINGAPORE

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