Noynoy Aquino has been known to drop by fast food chains during his foreign trips. He went to a McDonalds in San Francisco before proceeding to a gun shop. Recently, Aquino ate at Jollibee in Singapore. Like many of Aquino’s engagements, it is a calculated media event that aims to show the President’s connection with the ordinary folk.
Yes, like you, your president also eats burgers and fries. Pinoy comfort food, says one broadsheet. He feels what you feel.
The idea is not original though. US President Barack Obama and Vice-president Joe Biden have been known to stop over burger joints to grab a bite. The same would be covered as a media event.
Aquino’s hot dog lunch in New York was supposed to be in contrast to Gloria Arroyo’s scandalous, nearly $20,000 dinner in Le Cirque which was still fresh in the minds of many Filipinos.
But the attempt to appear ordinary is exposed as a sham when one looks back a few days before Jollibee in Singapore.
On November 8, first anniversary of the strongest recorded typhoon to make landfall, Aquino snubbed Yolanda survivors from Tacloban, the city that bore the brunt of Yolanda/Haiyan’s destructive force. His spokesman said that he had little time and needed to prepare for the APEC and ASEAN meettings.
A week later, Novmeber 16, Aquino also did not bother to say anything about the victims of the Hacienda Luisita massacre, whose cause he vowed to champion in a privilege speech in November 16, 2004.
Earlier, Aquino said he would not attend the wake of murdered transgender Jennifer Laude because he doesn’t attend wakes of people he doesn’t know. One wonders what he might say on the 5th anniversary of the Maguindanao Massacre on November 23.
For all his claims of having a common touch, Aquino appears to have nothing but apathy, nay contempt, for the common folk. Look at his record on issues such as land reform, wage and salary increases for working people, the horrible mass transportation system in Metro Manila, the privatization of hospitals, high power rates and his defense of the corrupt pork barrel system.
Aquino’s Fast Food Presidency tries desperately to project something he’s not. The photo ops try hard to conceal what he really is: a hacendero president who cares little for the plight of the poor. And there is nothing comforting about that.
Tragically enough, his presidency has as much substance and nutritional value as the items on a fast-food menu. ###