President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. of the Philippines travels by helicopter to a Coldplay concert

Using a presidential helicopter to travel to a Coldplay concert in a province north of the nation’s capital, Manila, has drawn condemnation from the president of the Philippines on social media. On Friday, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and his spouse were seen taking a helicopter to the Philippine Arena. This has been criticized as a waste of public funds. The action was justified by Mr. Marcos Jr.’s office, which cited “unforeseen traffic complications”. The “unprecedented influx of 40,000 individuals eagerly attending a concert” caused traffic issues, according to a statement released on Saturday by Jesus Nelson Morales, head of the Presidential Security Group (PSG), and this constituted a security risk to the president.

The “continued understanding and support for these measures are crucial in maintaining the safety and well-being of our nation’s leadership,” he continued, pleading with the public for understanding. Thousands of fans packed the Philippine Arena, the biggest indoor arena in the world, to see Coldplay perform. Among them were Mr. Marcos Jr. and his spouse Liza Araneta-Marcos. Social media users took offense at videos and images of the first pair, criticizing Mr. Marcos Jr.’s use of public funds. Mr. Marcos Jr. is the son of the late strongman president whose authority was overthrown over forty years ago in a historic “people power” revolution.

Facebook user James Patrick Aristorenas wrote on Saturday that “using official resources, like the presidential chopper, for personal and non-official activities is generally considered an abuse of power or misuse of government resources.” Facebook user Arvine Concepcion posted, “We paid for the use of the helicopter, fuel, and security, who knows even for the tickets for everyone.” According to a poll released on Friday, Metro Manila topped the list of metro regions with the slowest travel times in the 2023 TomTom Traffic Index, with an average journey time of 25 minutes and 30 seconds for a 10-kilometer distance.

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