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Give Mar Roxas a break, Palace asks netizens

guyito-1209MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang on Monday came to the defense of Interior Secretary Mar Roxas whose widely circulated photo showing him falling off a motorcycle in Eastern Samar province was ridiculed on social media.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte asked the public not to put “color” into Roxas’ decision to take a motorcycle, which he used to go around the province hit by Tropical Storm “Ruby.”

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Roxas, the administration’s presumptive standard-bearer in the 2016 presidential election, was previously ridiculed online for taking the Metro Rail Transit and carrying a sack of feeds during an inspection on separate occasions. Critics saw them as publicity stunts intended to increase Roxas’ chances in 2016.

Valte said other government officials had to take alternative modes of transportation in Samar because streets were blocked by debris.

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“Let’s not put color [into the ride]. It was unfortunate that he fell and we should be thankful—at least we are thankful—that Secretary Mar was not hurt,” she said.

“Our other colleagues there were forced to ride motorcycles just to reach Dolores [town] …. Let us focus on the job that needs to be done by our ground team and others here in Manila.”

Roxas was in Samar as head of the National Government Frontline Team coordinating efforts in preparation for the typhoon.

Critics, defenders

Online critics noticed that he was not wearing a helmet when he was photographed falling off a motorcycle.

Motorcycle riders were often reminded by the government to wear helmets following the spate of accidents, particularly in Metro Manila.

“The helmet law is a law effected by the people and as a representative and as a leader, he should lead by example,” said Facebook user Marlon Lagahit.

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Chris Alcala (@chrisalcala_md) said that what Roxas did was “unacceptable, no matter what the situation is … or especially in situations like this.”

Others defended Roxas. Noel Basco asked the public not to focus on Roxas not wearing a helmet. “Mar was responding to an emergency and he put his life in danger to help those who are in harm’s way. He didn’t think about his own safety and this is what he [gets] from you?”

Amelia Gonzales Brillantes echoed Basco’s reaction: “Instead of criticizing Roxas, we have to appreciate what he is doing.”

Gilbert Alcasid (@bluadio) said that despite the situation, Roxas did his best, even putting himself at risk. Alcasid asked the public to “give him (Roxas) a break.”—With a report from Paul Balois, Inquirer Social Media

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TOPICS: Mar Roxas, motorcycle, netizens, politics, reactions, Ruby, Social Media, typhoons
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