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Salceda wants explanation for Singapore's alleged deal with Taylor Swift

House ways and means panel chairperson Joey Salceda on Wednesday asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to make the Singaporean Embassy in Manila to explain the alleged exclusive deal for Taylor Swift's Eras tour concert. 

This comes after Thailand Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin alleged the city-state had made an exclusive deal for Swift to perform only in Singapore and not in any other Southeast Asian countries.

“Some US $3 million in grants were allegedly given by the Singapore government to AEG to host the concert in Singapore. The catch was that they do not host it elsewhere in the region. If true, [this] isn’t what good neighbors do,” Salceda said.

The 34-year-old Swift, who recently set a Grammy record as the only musical artist to win the coveted Album of the Year plum four times for her 'Midnights' album last February, is holding her Eras Tour concerts in Singapore from March 2 to 9. 

“I give it to them that the policy worked. Regional demand for Singaporean hotels and airlines was up 30% over the period. I estimate that the exclusivity term caused an increase in industry revenues by US$60 million," Salceda said.

"So, the grant produced 30 times more in economic activity. But it was at the expense of neighboring countries, which could not attract their own foreign concert goers, and whose fans had to go to Singapore,” he added.

The lawmaker believes the Philippines should not "just let things like these pass."

“We should still officially register our opposition. It also runs contrary to the principle of consensus-based relations and solidarity on which the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Nations) was founded... I think the DFA should send a note verbale to our counterparts in Singapore. Our countries are good friends,” Salceda added.

But he conceded that the Philippines should be more aggressive in pursuing concert-related ventures that would stir economic activity in the country.

“I think it’s also one example of the evolving nature of trade in services that we need to discuss with our neighbors, perhaps as enhancements to the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement,” Salceda said.

“We need to up our game. That is what agencies like the Tourism Promotions Board were made for,” he added.

GMA News Online has sought comment from the DFA and will publish its reply as soon as it is available. 

—VAL, GMA Integrated News