President late after opting to tackle rush-hour traffic
The new president of the Philippines was late for his first address to the military yesterday as he kept his promise to suffer in the capital's heavy traffic like ordinary people.
In one of the most loudly applauded portions of his inaugural speech earlier in the week, Benigno Aquino III said he had experienced the frustration of being stuck in traffic while powerful people in siren-blaring cars breezed by. He promised "no more 'wang-wang'", the local term for sirens.
So, yesterday, the president told his security escorts not to use sirens to clear the roads of Manila for his convoy heading to the military headquarters less than four miles from his home. And turned up 40 minutes late.
Filipinos generally regard sirens as a symbol of abuse of power and privilege. Under law, the president, vice-president, Senate president, House speaker and Supreme Court chief justice are the only civilians allowed to use sirens for their vehicles or convoys – but it is loosely enforced.
A reporter for GMA Television who followed the Aquino convoy said commuters who noticed the president on the congested EDSA highway were pleased there were no sirens. "I apologise for being late," the president later told reporters.
Mr Aquino succeeded the unpopular Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whose nine-year rule was rocked by four coup attempts and allegations – which she denies – of corruption, vote-rigging and human rights abuses. Mr Aquino has promised to prosecute the corrupt and banish poverty, saying he was "ending a leadership that has long been insensitive to the suffering of the people."
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
People are criticising Fifa World Cup sponsors with corrupt corporate logos
Natalie Portman tells Harvard graduates: 'Accept your lack of knowledge'
British tourists complain impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Fifa corruption live: Sebb Blatter warns 'more bad news may follow' as he clings to power
Skull found in Spain could be the world's first-ever murder victim
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...
£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...
£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...
£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...