MANILA, Philippines—Give President Benigno Aquino a break.
This was Vice President Jejomar Binay’s message on Wednesday to militant student groups behind the new form of protest called “noynoying.”
“Tigilan n’yo na ang ating Presidente (Give our President a break)… Can you imagine that the President eh di nagtatrabaho (is not working)? Siguro naman kahit ang mga barangay captains nagtatrabaho, di ba (Even barangay captains work, don’t they)?” Binay told reporters on the sidelines of the Chamber of Thrift Banks convention at a Makati City hotel.
He pointed out that contrary to the claims of Aquino’s critics, the country has a working President.
The term “noynoying,” a pun on the President’s nickname, involves lying on the ground or just sitting or standing, looking bored and doing nothing.
According to student leader Anakbayan chair Vencer Crisostomo the nearly effortless pose is a symbolic jab at the President, who, he said, has done nothing to cushion the impact of or prevent the spike in crude prices and tuition fees.
“He has not lifted a finger, but he should be doing something. That is ‘noynoying,’ when you do nothing when in fact you have something to do,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Office of the Vice President announced on Wednesday that Binay will represent the President during this weekend’s 2nd Nuclear Security Summit in South Korea and is leaving for Seoul on Saturday afternoon.
The summit is expected to gather around 50 heads of state, including US President Barack Obama, who initiated the holding of a summit on nuclear security in 2009 in Washington, DC.
In a statement, Binay said “nuclear security is a concern that exceeds all geopolitical boundaries and demands a clear and universal response from all democracies. Through this summit, we hope to promote a wider awareness and understanding of nuclear security.”
“We hope to gain additional insights from (other summit participants) for our National Nuclear Security Plan, our main roadmap for strengthening nuclear safety and security,” he added.
Binay is expected to meet with President Herman van Rompuy of the European Council and President Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission during breaks in the Seoul summit to “discuss the Philippines and EU’s common interests in international migration, extend the country’s readiness to assist the EU in its manpower requirements and seek the EU’s support in the protection of Filipino migrant workers.”
Aside from being the government’s housing czar, Binay is also presidential adviser on overseas Filipino workers’ concerns.
While in Seoul, the vice president will also meet with key officials of the Gangwon Group of Companies, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction Corp. and the Saekyong Group, as well as Minister Kwon Do-youp of the Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, the government agency in charge of housing in South Korea.
Binay is also scheduled to hold a dialog with leaders of the Filipino community at the Philippine embassy, and attend wreath-laying ceremonies at the War Memorials in Yongsan-gu District and Goyang City.