Yes, we get it. Nothing is ever cheap in NY. Or in Washington, or in any other US state or country. Heck, nothing is ever cheap even in the Philippines. A trip to your nearest carinderia would bill you at least P50, about P100 at McDonalds, and P300 – P600 at small restaurants found inside the mall. The more expensive ones I don’t know because I’m scared to leave my comfort zone. And my philosophy is, I’m not spending even 5% of my hard-earned income on a single meal. That is just not practical. I would rather save the money for my child’s education.
But what Malacanang seem to be not getting is that we are appalled that they spent P1M on a “simple dinner” not because we don’t get that NY is expensive or that the President deserves a decent meal. Ok, I know it’s too much for us to ask the President to just eat at Sabrett, even though Brad Pitt and Maddox seem to love it. What we as a nation are saying is that as the leader of a third world nation with many of her constituents living below poverty line, the President and our elected officials are expected TO BE THE FIRST to NOT OVERSPEND and consider that that amount spent on a “simple dinner” could be an amount well-spent saving people like HIM.
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I know, he may well have been a creation of the media. But having lived in Tondo for most of my life, I saw how the story of that man who died of hunger reflects the story of most of my neighbors. I still see them, everyday. Mothers who sold or gave away their kids so that they could feed the rest of the family. Men who stole cellphones, laptops, motorbikes — and got killed — for cash. Old people way past the age of retirement who still launder clothes or fix houses, drainage systems, electric wires for other people. Young girls who sell their bodies to sex-starved jeepney drivers in exchange for a “simple meal,” just as in Avenida where anyone who has P200 can fuck away.
We are not saying that the President should not eat at all. What we’re saying is that there are people like them whose lives that P1M spent on a simple dinner could’ve changed.