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President of Philippines faces backlash for taking helicopter to Coldplay gig

The President of the Philippines has been criticised after travelling to a Coldplay gig in a helicopter.

  • READ MORE: With Coldplay’s eco-friendly tour, music is again at the forefront of progressive ideas

The band’s ongoing world stadium tour behind latest album ‘Music Of The Spheres‘ comes with an emphasis on environmental sustainability, and began in March 2022 in South America before coming to the United States and UK and hitting Asia and Australia late last year.

Coldplay were playing the Philippine Arena on Friday (January 19), with attendees including President Ferdinand Marcos Jr and his wife.

Ahead of the gig, the couple were spotted arriving in a helicopter, which many online have criticised as directly opposing the eco-friendly initiatives around the band’s tour.

“Marcos attended a Coldplay concert just 32km from Malacañang in a helicopter. The same Marcos who pushes for the phaseout of jeepneys in the guise of environmentalism, rides a helicopter to a concert!” one wrote online.

See a range of responses to the news below.

In response to the criticism, the head of Marcos’ Presidential Security Group (PSG), Brig Gen Jesus Nelson Morales, said the helicopter travel was due to bad traffic, citing “unprecedented influx of 40,000 individuals eagerly attending a concert” that resulted in a security risk.

He asked for the public’s “continued understanding and support for these measures are crucial in maintaining the safety and well-being of our nation’s leadership”.

Figures published last year showed that Coldplay’s world tour has seen the band reduce their carbon emissions by nearly half.

The figures show that the band have emitted 47 per cent less carbon emissions on the ‘Music Of The Spheres’ world tour so far than their tour in 2016 and 2017, after which they said they would not be touring again until they could do so more sustainably.

Coldplay said of the figures: “This is a good start – and something that our incredible crew should be very proud of – but clearly there’s still room for improvement.”

Of tweaks to the system to improve sustainability, they told fans: “Now that we’re into the second year of the tour, we’ve started to run the entire show (audio, lights, lasers etc) from an electric battery system that allows us to use 100 per cent renewable energy as efficiently as possible. We have been using electric vehicles and alternative fuels wherever we can, as well as reducing waste and plastic usage to a minimum.”

Frontman Chris Martin also spoke about why he believes eco-friendly tours make “business sense” in the music industry.

“What we’re trying to do is actually not advocate at all, but just prove that it makes business sense because that’s where we feel you’ll really get people to change, like ‘Hey you can make more money’,” he told Ellie Goulding on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

He also said that “way more people than you think” are interested in looking after the planet. “Most people, if they have the luxury of being able to care about it, care about it,” he added.

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