MANILA — Presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Wednesday performed his own challenge which he called “Saan Pupunta Ang P5K Mo?”
Armed with a P5,000 budget, the PROMDI standard bearer went to Balintawak Market and Farmer’s Market in Quezon City, and bought a one-month supply of basic goods for a family of four.
The amount is what’s usually left for a Metro Manila-based minimum wage earner who gets a P13,000 monthly salary after paying household bills and other expenses, said Pacquiao.
After almost two hours of market-hopping, he was able to buy vegetables, chicken, fish, eggs and condiments, but failed to purchase meat as he only had P2 left in his pocket.
Pacquiao assessed that what should be good for a month’s supply can only run for 20 days.
If he wins the presidency, he said he will increase the current minimum wage.
"Salary standardization, across the board. 'Yun ang gusto ko, kasi kaya lang naman tambak-tambak ang mga tao sa Maynila dahil dito yung opportunity, andito 'yung trabaho. Saka mataas ang sweldo dito kesa sa probinsya. So pupunta talaga sila dito,” he told reporters.
Despite his intention in performing the challenge, some market vendors and customers complained as the crowd around Pacquiao supposedly disrupted their business activities.
"Nawala po yung tao (buyer)… inabangan po sya (Pacquiao) eh,” vendor May Buenafuente said.
“Huwag naman ganito. Masyadong naging abala sa maliliit na nagha-hanapbuhay. Dapat sa mga highway lang (ang ganitong political activity). Asan ang mga truck? Wala na,” buyer Sonia Canido said.
Pacquiao said he cannot control curious onlookers.
“In-explain ko naman sa kanila na hindi ko mapigilan ang mga tao. At least, nakita nila ako na namili ako at maramdaman nila, mahal ko yung mahihirap," he said.
Besides aiding workers and vendors, Pacquiao is eyeing to incentivize the business sector, especially those who would opt to invest in the provinces.
“Meron tayong paraan para ma-engganyo yung investors mag-invest sa probinsya. 'Yung tinatawag nating may incentive na ibibigay natin sa kanila. which is libre sila ng taxes nang limang taon,” Pacquiao said.
Meanwhile, he said he turned down offers of supposed paid survey results by certain groups.
While acknowledging that bagging President Rodrigo Duterte’s endorsement could boost his candidacy, Pacquiao stressed he will not bow to the former's policies in exchange for it.
“Ako kasi, basta sa tama tayo, dun tayo sa tama. Kasi kung umpisahan mong pagtakpan ang isang kamalian, kung umpisahan mong pagtakpan yung mga kasalanan ay anong pagkakaiba mo dun sa mga corrupt na ano. Anong pagkakaiba mo dun sa mga trapo na pulitiko?” he said.
He will not rule out the scenario though wherein he will seek Duterte’s advice from time to time in case he wins this May.
The senator, meanwhile, failed to hide his disbelief in suggestions from the camp of his rival Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso that the latter is already assured of the Mindanaoans’ support.
"Ha? Alam ko, ang mga kapwa-Muslim ko, karamihan sa kanila ay susuporta sa kapwa Mindanaoan," said Pacquiao.
Domagoso recently held campaign activities in Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat and South Cotabato, where some local officials and groups endorsed his presidential bid, and the vice presidential candidacy of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.
The Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) has yet to endorse a presidential candidate for this year's elections, chief minister Ahod Ebrahim said Wednesday.