Leader Slammed for Taking Helicopter to Coldplay Concert

Traffic in Manila was so bad that Chris Martin wrote an impromptu song about it
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 22, 2024 6:20 PM CST

Traffic in Manila ahead of Coldplay's concert in the northern suburbs of the Philippines capital was so bad that frontman Chris Martin sang an impromptu song about it—but it wasn't a problem for President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The president, his wife, and their entourage arrived at the Friday concert by helicopter, leading to a backlash on social media, the BBC reports. Critics accused the president of wasting public resources and failing to deal with the country's transportation issues. Major General Nelson Morales, head of the Presidential Security Command, said that it was a security issue and that the agency took "decisive action" to bring Marcos to the concert safely.

Morales said the Philippine Arena experienced "an unprecedented influx of 40,000 individuals eagerly attending a concert, resulting in unforeseen traffic complications." The venue is the world's largest indoor arena, with a seating capacity of 55,000. It has hosted numerous large concerts so it's not clear why the influx was seen as "unprecedented"—or why the traffic was "unforeseen." Concertgoer Nick Villavecer tells NBC News that he left home in a carpool with other fans seven hours before the concert started.

"What he showed was a stark contrast to what many ordinary Filipino concertgoers had to go through," Villavecer says of Marcos. In a post on X, Villavecer shared video of Martin's song about "insane" Manila traffic. "If you wanna drive somewhere then I'm warning you. A 2-mile drive will take a week or two," Martin sang. "If you wanna get back home in time for your bath, well, I'd allow yourself about a year and a half." The country's Department of Transport said Friday that it is working on infrastructure projects to deal with "worsening traffic in highly urbanized areas," CNN reports. (More Philippines stories.)

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