Scorching heat forces Obama to remove jacket

By Alexis Romero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Apr 30 2014 02:59 AM | Updated as of Apr 30 2014 10:59 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The sweltering heat forced visiting US President Barack Obama to remove his jacket during his speech before military personnel at the Army gym in Fort Bonifacio on Tuesday.

Wearing a white long sleeved shirt with a light blue tie and dark blue pants, Obama entered the venue at around 10 a.m.

Obama immediately informed the audience that he would not deliver a long speech because of the sweltering heat inside the gym.

“Now, I’m not going to give a long speech, because it’s hot and people are in uniform. I hope you don’t mind me not wearing my jacket,” Obama said. “And I also want to make sure that I have some time to shake some hands.”

Obama was visibly perspiring while he delivered his 10-minute speech.

Some in the audience were frantically fanned themselves as they listened to Obama, whose speech focused on the longstanding alliance between the Philippines and the US.

Obama, however, was still better off than the Secret Service and US embassy personnel, who had to keep their jackets on while their Filipino counterparts stayed cool in their barongs.

Members of the media who covered the event were warned beforehand that it would be hot inside the gym.

“Media should wear light, cool clothing. The gym will be very hot. Water will be provided,” a US embassy advisory read.

Arriving in Malacañang on Monday afternoon, Obama was given a cold towel, which he used to wipe his face and hands.

Heat and sweat notwithstanding, Obama impressed the troops who were present at his visit to Fort Bonifacio.

“He removed his jacket and it meant something to soldiers. He was trying to connect to us,” an officer remarked.