Editorial: Presidential insensitivity

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. deserves criticism for his trip to Singapore over the weekend to watch the Formula One Grand Prix, the highest level of international racing. His unannounced non-state visit to the Southeast Asian city-state in less than a month came in the wake of Typhoon Karding (Noru), which killed a dozen people and displaced thousands of individuals.

A head of state and government enjoying a sporting event, while his fellow Filipinos in northern Luzon are still suffering from the devastation brought about by Typhoon Karding is a display of utter insensitivity.

Malacañang broke its silence about the President’s Singapore trip along with his son Ilocos Norte First District Rep. Ferdinand Alexander Marcos and his cousin, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, on Monday, Oct. 3, portraying his visit as a “productive” one, obviously trying to bury the criticisms from cause-oriented groups with a positive narrative.

This clear flip-the-narrative effort of Malacañang was led by Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles, who said in a Facebook post that President Marcos strengthened the talks he had with his Singaporean counterparts during his state visit from Sept. 6 to 7, and he continued to encourage Singaporean businessmen to invest in the Philippines.

Angeles, to support her statement, included in her post the screenshot of Singapore Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng’s post wherein he said that he met Marcos, along with other heads of states, ministries and foreign dignitaries “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.”

Courting potential investors for the country is a good move; however, the Formula One is not a formal event for Singaporean and Filipino officials to discuss affairs of the state. Whatever agreement came out during their talks is not official.

President Marcos should have resumed his talks with his Singaporean counterparts when the relief efforts for the typhoon-displaced families were over.

One question that Angeles must answer: Whose money was used to pay for the private jet that carried the President and his entourage?