A PHILIPPINE congressman on Wednesday said the Singapore Embassy in Manila should explain a deal between the Singaporean government and production company AEG Presents for exclusive concerts of pop superstar Taylor Swift.

“Some US$3 million (P168.8 million) in grants were allegedly given by the Singapore government to AEG to host the concert in Singapore,” Albay Rep. Jose Ma. Clemente S. Salceda said in a statement. “The catch was that they do not host it elsewhere in the region.”

Mr. Salceda cited remarks by Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, who said the grant was offered on the condition that there will be no other stops in the Southeast Asian leg of Ms. Swift’s concert tour.

“I give it to them that the policy worked,” the Philippine lawmaker said. “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 $60 million. 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.”

Mr. Salceda asked the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to send a note verbale to the Singapore Embassy requesting an explanation of the grant given by the Singapore Tourism Board and Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth to AEG Presents.

DFA spokesperson Ma. Teresita C. Daza did not immediately reply to a Whatsapp message seeking comment.

Ms. Swift is set to play six sold-out shows in Singapore next month as part of her Eras Tour.

Last week, Mr. Thavisin said Singapore had paid $2.77 million on the condition that it would be Ms. Swift’s only Southeast Asian show.

Mr. Salceda, who heads the House ways and means committee, said the deal “runs contrary to the principle of consensus-based relations and solidarity on which the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was founded.”

He cited the need for ASEAN countries to discuss “the evolving nature of trade in services… perhaps as enhancements to the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement.”

A 2023 study by software company QuestionPro showed that Ms. Swift’s fans spend about $1,300 per show for tickets, hotel accommodations, food, outfits and merchandise.

Her last concert in the Philippines was in 2014 for her Red Tour. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz