He’s giving future presidents a bad example
By Raïssa Robles
Presidents after him will be forced to scrimp and save to match President Benigno Aquino’s niggardly ways of making do with US$46,350 for a 55-member delegation. (The dollar equivalent is calculated using P43.15 to US$1.00 as exchange rate.)
I say niggardly, compared to his ex-college teacher and predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Now, that woman KNEW how to spend our money.
Why, she gave away P6 million in tips alone during her 2009 five-day trip to Washington and New York, when she spent all in all the equivalent of P37 million.
Her spokesman then, the late Cerge Remonde, justified the hefty tab by saying that Arroyo’s overseas sorties were exempt from government austerity measures since these “aggressive” trips resulted in a huge inflow of foreign investments.
To commemorate those good old days (at least good for her and her political allies), I am reposting below an article I wrote two years ago when then President Arroyo zipped to New York, then to Washington using our money.
Enjoy those good old times and hope they never return –
What kind of New York transport cost President Arroyo’s trip US$182,597.50 in just two days?
A pre-Garci-tape time travel capsule?
From the breakdown provided by the Office of the President (see below), the amount spent for “transportation” is the biggest expense of the trip. And this is aside from the air fare of US$4,675 from Washington to the Big Apple.
Could luxe limos like the one pictured below cost that much, do you think?
What does the item “Filipino community” expenses really mean? A hakot crowd? Filipino community expenses are apart from the US$42,500 spent on “representation” expenses in Washington. Notice, too, that “representation” disappears as an expense in New York.
Why bring a planeload of people to New York, the 8th most expensive city in the world according to the just-released Mercer’s 2009 Worldwide Cost of Living survey?
The retinue spent more in two days there ( US$396,099.00) than three days in Washington (US$371,855.98), which was the real object of the trip.
Two days at NY’s Waldorf Astoria (US$94,576.93)
was costlier than three days spent at Willard Hotel (US$70,879.78).
Has the First Family been luxury hotel addicts all these years?
July 29-August 5 trip expenses of President Arroyo, her husband and retinue for three days stay in Washington and two days in New York:
Total expenses for three days in Washington:
US$371,855.98 (P48.47 per US$1)= P18,023,859.35
Air fare: US$2,508.70
Filipino community: US$79,720.22
Equipment rental: US$8,775.00
RP-US Friendship caucus: US$5,178.42
Stakeholders Tour: US$7,164.66
Secretariat supplies: US$6,305.00
Total expenses for two days in New York:
US$396,099.00 (P48.47 per US$1) = P19,198.918.53
Air fare: US$4,675.60
Filipino community: US$33,714.33
Equipment rental: US45,909.00
Embassy expenses: US$41,092.07
Secretariat supplies: US$14,173.57
Gratuities* : US$59,000.00
[NOTE: *Gratuities are tips given to bellboys, hotel chamber maids, security convoy escorts and a butler that your taxes so generously paid for.]
Wonder how much President Aquino is giving away in gratuities.