MANILA— Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Wednesday said he was "happy" that the public is delighted with online memes that poked fun at his recent stay in Boracay, which reopened to more tourists last week after the coronavirus pandemic shuttered the island for about half a year.
The memes feature a photo of Roque with his arms outstretched as he urged tourists to visit the island. The image, originally taken by the beach, was manipulated to place the Palace official in movie and anime scenes and sports events, among others.
"Sa panahon ng pandemya eh natutuwa ako na kahit papano mayroon tayong kontribusyon para maaliw ang ating mga kababayan," Roque told government-run PTV.
(At the time of a pandemic, I am happy that we have a contribution to entertain our compatriots.)
Roque said his favorite meme showed him with Marvel's Avengers superheroes.
"Kamukha din ako ng mga Avengers. Kasing katawan ng mga Avengers," he said.
(I resemble the Avengers. We have the same build.)
"Kailangan po talaga natin na magkaroon ng konting aliw dahil alam niyo naman ang mensahe ng Presidente, bagama't nandiyan ang COVID-19 kaya po natin mabuhay in spite and despite. Pag-ingatan lang ang ating buhay para tayo ay makapaghanapbuhay," he said.
(We need to have a bit of fun because as the President said, we can live in spite and despite of COVID-19. Let us just be cautious so we can earn a living.)
Roque earlier shared on Facebook some of the memes, with the caption, "Akala niyo di ko nakikita. Tawa lang kayo. #kalmaAkoLangTo #GoodVibesLang."
(You think I don't see this. Just laugh.)
Roque held a press briefing from Boracay on Monday, during which Aklan Governor Florencio Miraflores said tourists could get up to a 75-percent discount on room rates in some of the island's establishments.
Those who want to visit Boracay need a negative PCR coronavirus test result 48 to 72 hours before their trip. They also need to register online, the tourism department earlier said.
Boracay on Oct. 1 reopened to tourists from across the country after initially welcoming only travelers from Western Visayas.
The resort island last year closed for 6 months to give way to a rehabilitation of its sewage system. It reopened in October 2019, only to be shuttered again by the pandemic last March.
Less than 5 percent of Boracay's 30,000 tourist workers have gotten their livelihood back, Roque said Monday.