MANILA, Philippines – Presidential bet Manny Pacquiao courted barangay leaders from Calabarzon, noting that village leaders need to be empowered and recognized.
Pacquiao on Friday, March 11, spoke at the assembly of Liga ng mga Barangay – Calabarzon chapter. Aside from Pacquiao, senatorial candidates Harry Roque and Herbert Bautista also attended the event.
The boxing icon reiterated his earlier statement that he supports the postponement of the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections set on December 5.
Pacquiao said that he wants the fund, around P8 billion, to be used for aid instead.
In a media interview on Friday, Pacquiao said that he also supports empowering village chiefs as the pandemic showed how important their functions are.
“Dapat talaga ang mga barangay officials sila ang pasalamatan natin kasi may pandemya man o wala, sila ang ating frontliners palagi dahil kung anuman problema sila ang tinatawagan ng mga mayor,” said Pacquiao.
(Our barangay officials should be thanked because even if there is a pandemic or not, they are our frontliners at all times because whatever problem there is, the mayors call them first.)
Friday’s event was the second barangay league assembly that Pacquiao attended. On Thursday, March 10, Pacquiao spoke to Negros Oriental leaders in Cebu.
Louvkie Fanlo, a former national director of the league, told reporters that barangay leaders support the postponement of barangay polls. Fanlo also echoed Pacquiao’s call that the budget is used for aid instead.
“We want the funding that is allocated for the elections to be given as a form of aid to each and every barangays to allow them to recover from the pandemic,” Fanlo said.
But Fanlo called the bluff on some candidates who promise to increase barangay officials’ salaries.
“It is something that has always [been] offered in the last 20 years, so I guess the safest answer would be, we are yet to see how it’s gonna go,” she said.
Asked if the Calabarzon barangay leaders would be endorsing a presidential candidate, Fanlo said that they are not supposed to, but as an organization, they would not.
Ok with Alert Level 0
Pacquiao said he would respect the decision of the government if it decides to further ease restrictions to “Alert Level 0.”
Earlier this week, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said that experts and government advisers are looking into a possible Alert Level 0, where a maskless mandate could be implemented. Some experts, however, have raised the need to make masks mandatory still.
“Di na ako natatakot diyan… Kumpiyansa ako na totally wala na. (I am not afraid anymore. I am confident that the worst is over,” said Pacquiao, who admitted that he, himself, had not been wearing masks.
Asked about the basis of his confidence, Pacquiao said he has trust with the Lord.
“Pwede tayong mag-suggest na hindi mandatory [ang mask] pero ‘yung ayaw na, okay na. Ganun na lang siguro,” he told reporters.
(We can suggest not making masks mandatory but for those who do not want to wear them anymore, then it should be okay. I think that could be the arrangement.)
Currently, Metro Manila and other areas are under Alert Level 1, where the government considers the coronavirus disease as endemic, allowing businesses and public transportation to be fully operational.
Pacquiao has been supportive of lower alert level states for areas in the country, saying that it could spur economic activity and help Filipinos recover from the impacts of the pandemic. – Rappler.com