2022 Philippine Elections

First 100 days: What would Pacquiao do?

Aika Rey
First 100 days: What would Pacquiao do?

Boxing icon and PROMDI presidential candidate Senator Manny Pacquiao in a one-on-one interview with Nobel Prize laureate and Rappler CEO Maria Ressa, at the Rappler headquarters in Pasig City on March 22, 2022. Richel Mascarinas/PonD News Asia

Presidential bet Manny Pacquiao tells Rappler CEO Maria Ressa about his plans in his first 100 days if elected
First 100 days: What would Pacquiao do?

MANILA, Philippines – If Manny Pacquiao happens to defy all odds and becomes president, what would he do in his first 100 days in office?

He said that his first marching order would be to knock out corruption, followed by strengthening the economy and providing jobs and housing to Filipinos. 

Pacquiao laid out his plans in an interview with Rappler CEO and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Maria Ressa.

First 100 days: What would Pacquiao do?
Knocking out corruption

Pacquiao, who is running on a no-nonsense anti-corruption platform, said that this fight is the reason why he only had himself and business magnate Salvador “Buddy” Zamora, also his campaign manager, support his campaign.

“Ayaw ko ‘yung pagdating ng panahon, makipag-compromise. (I don’t want that when the time comes, I have to compromise),” he said.

Pacquiao also lamented the size of the government’s annual budget, claiming that a lot of items in the fiscal plan were not necessarily needed.

“Some items were not necessarily important, but we allocate funds for it because it is requested – so that they can get a certain percentage of money out of it, right?” he said. “We need to change that attitude.”

He said that he will push for the creation of a “mega prison” where corrupt government officials and employees would be jailed.  

He cited the ill-gotten wealth of the Marcos family during the dictatorship in saying that the Philippines suffered from it until now.

“Kasi masyadong aggressive sila to defend Bongbong Marcos, ay hindi nila alam yung history kung paano naghirap yung bansa natin.… Ang isang liderato, ’pag nagnakaw iyan, hindi kaagad mag-epek iyan dun sa administrasyon niya. Pagkatapos ng administrasyon niya, mga ibang henerasyon na, doon mage-epek iyan,” he said.

([Their supporters] were too aggressive in defending Bongbong Marcos, when they don’t know the history of how the Philippines suffered because of his family. An administration, when it steals money, the effects won’t be immediately felt. It would be after that administration, or sometimes in generations to come, that the effects would be felt.)

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Growing the economy

During the interview, Pacquiao claimed that if the gap between the rich and poor grew bigger, Filipinos might stage a revolution against the government.

That is why he promised to improve the economy, promising to grow the country’s gross domestic product.

Pacquiao said that he will strengthen the country’s non-revenue income, allowing the government not to solely rely on taxes to fund the annual budget. 

Hinting he would renationalize utilities, Pacquiao said, “When I talk about non-tax revenue income, including government-owned and controlled corporations, the public utilities of the government have been privatized and sold. This is why a huge chunk of government income has been lost.”

Pacquiao also seemed to be against deficit spending, wherein the government borrows money to fund the annual budget. 

He also said he wanted to further lower corporate taxes to rival Singapore’s 17%. Earlier, Pacquiao said that he wanted corporate taxes to be as low as 15% to entice investors to come into the Philippines.

Pacquiao also envisioned a stronger micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, saying that this could help a lot of Filipinos get jobs.

“If we strengthen MSMEs, all of Filipinos could have jobs because it comprises 99.9% [of total businesses in the country]… Filipinos would no longer have to look for jobs, it would be the companies looking for employees,” he said in Filipino.

Strengthening rule of law, justice system

If elected president, Pacquiao said he wanted the judiciary to have a higher budget to prevent judges from being corrupt. Earlier, he also said he wanted a jury system in the Philippines.

Pacquiao also said he would continue President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs “but in the right way.” This, he said, would be done by ensuring that due process is followed.

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He would also allow the International Criminal Court to enter the Philippines to investigate Duterte’s war on drugs.

Pacquiao also said that he would turnover Duterte friend and spiritual adviser Apollo Quiboloy to US authorities. Quiboloy is wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for a string of criminal cases that include sex trafficking and money laundering.

Appointees?

Pacquiao was mum about this, but he said that he would be appointing PROMDI chairperson Mariano “Mimo” Osmeña as part of his economic team.

Earlier, Pacquiao said that he wanted campaign manager Zamora to lead his economic team. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.