Marcos says ‘best way to drum up business’ is Formula 1

SINGAPORE’S GUESTS Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (right) meets with President Marcos and first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos during the F1 Grand Prix event. —PHOTO FROM LEE HSIEN LOONG FACEBOOK PAGE

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong (right) meets with President Marcos and first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos during the F1 Grand Prix. (File photo from the Facebook account of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong)

MANILA, Philippines — Racing is “the best way to drum up business,” President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Monday in a Facebook post, calling his trip to attend the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Singapore over the weekend a “productive one.”

In his Facebook page, Marcos posted photos of his trip to the Lion City, just hours after Malacañang and Singapore Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng confirmed he had visited Singapore.

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

“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. Will be sharing more details on this at a later time.”

The Singaporean minister earlier confirmed he met with Marcos on the sidelines of the Grand Prix race, which was held at the Marina Bay Street Circuit from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2.

In his own Facebook post on Monday, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he was “glad” to see spectators from all around the world visiting Singapore just to attend the race, calling it a sign that “we have emerged from the pandemic and are open for business.”

One of the photos shows Lee with Marcos and first lady Liza Araneta-Marcos.

Lee said in his caption: “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.”

Malacañang remained mum throughout the weekend even though repeatedly asked by reporters about the president’s trip to Singapore.

On Sunday, some photos went viral on social media showing President Marcos; his son, Ilocos Norte Rep. Sandro Marcos; and his cousin, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, en route to Singapore days after Super Typhoon Karding (international name: Noru) battered parts of Luzon early last week.

A photo of Sandro enjoying a drink with actress Alexa Miro was uploaded on the official website of the event organizers.

This drew the ire of several groups and lawmakers, some of whom have said the president’s attendance to the event was “very telling of his lack of sympathy towards poverty-stricken Filipinos.”

House Deputy Minority Leader France Castro urged the Malacañang and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to clarify whether Marcos had used government resources for an “obviously personal, extravagant, and frivolous junket in times of economic hardship.”

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

For his part, Renato Reyes Jr., secretary general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, questioned the belated confirmation of Malacañang of the president’s trip, saying that this showed that the Palace “either clueless as to the nature of the trip or Philippine officials were trying to hide the actual details of the trip.”


Palace confirms Bongbong Marcos’ ‘productive’ weekend trip to Singapore

Critics slam Marcos’ F1 weekend ‘junket’ to Singapore