DAVAO CITY – In Monday’s press conference after the launch of a Mindanao agri-business initiative, reporters here were dismayed over how President Benigno Aquino III gave more time to discuss over questions related to Manila’s transportation woes and his role in two showbiz weddings.
In contrast, Aquino’s answers to questions by two local reporters were brief, prompting journalists to take to social media to rant over the unfair treatment.
Philippine Star’s Edith Regalado asked the president’s plans on the now-completed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL)and Manila Bulletin’s Alexander Lopez asked how Aquino would address environmentalists’ concern on energy sourcing in Mindanao.
The president merely replied “yes” to Regalado and said he would present the now-completed BBL to Congress on Wednesday. Then he turned over the microphone to presidential peace adviser Teresita Deles to provide brief details.
Aquino’s response on the energy problem was that he acknowledged the difficulty of generating renewable energy and natural gas, and said coal is the reliable source of energy.
A third reporter, coming from Solar-RPN9 TV, started to ask questions about Metro Manila’s problems on traffic and port congestion, and on the metro-rail transit.
Aquino took the longest to answer these questions, and even paused to scroll on his cellular phone to look at notes regarding the ports and traffic.
At that point, some local reporters were giving quizzing looks as the Manila-based reporter was allowed to go beyond the limit of one follow-up question.
Another television reporter from GMA news was next, but went to ask about Aquino’s reaction as best man in the wedding of his friend Senator Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero and actress Heart Evangelista, and who would be the bachelor president’s date on this event.
The GMA reporter went on to ask how many times Aquino was best man, in which the president appeared bemused and said he stopped counting already.
But not stopping there, the reporter asked if the president would be part of the entourage of the wedding of showbiz couple Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera.
After entertaining four reporters, Aquino left the press conference. Local reporters huddled and shared their sentiments.
“Unsa to, showbiz kaayo (What was that, it was showbiz),” asked Edge Davao managing editor Jon Joaquin.
A long-time journalist smirked at the last questions regarding Aquino’s personal life. “That was the question of the century!” he said.
Other reporters took to their Facebook accounts to raise comment on the press conference.
“Of all the questions she could have asked the president, she asked what does he think of becoming the best man of so and so politcal figure…intawon. Kadaghan sa issues nga pwede pangutan-on, (goodness. There are so many issues that can be raised),” posted Reuel John Lumawag of SunStar Davao.
“And why we should bother this at the sidelines of the event that is supposed to highlight Mindanao?” asked Mindanao Times’ Kristianne Fusilero.
Mindanews Jay Lozano enumerated possible questions that could have been raised to the president.
“Andaming importanteng bagay na pwedeng itanong sa presidente. DAP (So many important things that can be raised to the president: Disbursement Acceleration Program), charter change, BBL, GDP” said Lozano.
Jeffrey Tupas, news editor of Newsdesk.asia, said the incident was a waste of an opportunity since Aquino only comes to the city on few occasions in a year.
He went on to criticize the penchant of some reports to look on “lighter issues”.
“I won’t apologize, but the Filipinos, Mindanao, deserve more than the trivial, disguised as “on the lighter note” — because for me, what could be lighter than that is “what did you have for breakfast, Mister President, and this is on the lighter note lang po kasi marami pong walang breakfast. (becaue many have not even had breakfast).”
“You guys travelled all the way to Davao, to Mindanao, to get Aquino’s comment on Dingdong and Marian or his invitation to be Sen. Escudero and Heart’s Best Man. And the local journalists had to endure the president’s gibberish on MRT. Parang sayang ang pamasahe ninyo. At parang ang sayang ng oras namin. (It was a waste of your fare, and it seems also a waste of our time),” ended Tupas. (davaotoday.com)