Pacquiao barnstorms Marcos bailiwick

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 24 2022 12:05 AM

PROMDI standard bearer Sen. Manny Pacquiao barnstormed Isabela province, Wednesday, even though the area is a known bailiwick of one of his opponents in the May elections, former senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.

Isabela province has more than 1.1 million voters, and is also part of the so-called "Solid North," or areas that are known for giving solid support to fellow "Ilocanos."

Isabela's voting record in the 2016 elections gave its native Jejomar Binay 372,371 (52%) of its more than 700,000 votes in the presidential race, with fellow candidates Grace Poe and Rodrigo Duterte lagging behind.

Marcos, another Ilokano, received 516,926 (74.72%) votes as against Leni Robredo's 85,317 (12.77%) in the vice presidential race that year.

Pacquiao, at the sidelines of his motorcade and campaign rally in Echague, said he still visited Isabela on the belief that voters now really study the records of every candidate.

"Ang akin lang ay democratic country naman tayo. At ang lahat ay malaya pumili ng kandidato nila. Alam ko hindi naman lahat doon kay BBM. Mayroon naman talagang naghahangad ng tunay na pagbabago, hindi naghahangad para sa isang traditional government. Hindi natin gusto yan," Pacquiao said.

And even though he's inside a Marcos territory, Pacquiao still issued this reminder to Ilocano voters.

"Ang atin lang ay' wag tayo mamimili ng tutulungan natin. Bakit, ngayon lang ba sila pumasok sa pulitika? Pag ngayon lang pumasok sa pulitika, ang akin lang, hindi ako nakikipag-away sa kaniya. Kumbaga, matagal naman na panahon, ang hinihiling ko lang sa taumbayan, si MP, pagbigyan n'yo ng pagkakataon at makita niyo ang kaibahan sa ilang dekadang lumipas," Pacquiao said.

The retired boxing champ also used the occasion to lash at PDP-Laban members who are following Energy Secretary and faction president Alfonso Cusi's order to support Marcos.

"Sorry to say this but, nagiging talagang unang-una trapo. Pangalawa, hindi siguro nagi-isip na nabuo itong partido na ito laban sa pamumuno ni Ferdinand Marcos," he said.

Just last month, the Dys and the Albanos -- Isabela's biggest political clans -- have already declared their support for Marcos and his running mate Sara Duterte-Carpio.

But Cauyan mayoralty bet, Bill Dy, brother of Isabela Vice Governor Faustino "Bojie" Dy III, chose to support Pacquiao, as he declared that there is no such thing as "Solid North."

Pacquiao's ally even assured that they could deliver more than 130,000 votes for their party standard bearer.

"Wala naman talagang Solid North. Ang natural opposition dito na bumoboto ay 130,000. Ang botante rito na nakukuha ng kapatid ko na vice governor ngayon is 435K... Palagay ko, yung 130k na 'yan, karamihan d'yan, mapupunta kay Manny Pacquiao," Dy said.

"Ipinanganak po ako na developing country po ang ating banda, ayokong mamatay na developing country pa rin," he added.

A few kilometers away from Pacquiao's location at that time is Barangay Chica, which is home to corn farmers.

Asked about their living condition, Teresita, 75, a local resident, said: Naghirap-hirap pa rin. Wala pa ring hinto kahit linggo para may makain pa rin."

Former village chairman Fernando Ambatali said his only hope today is to see the politicians' promises finally being delivered.

"Karamihan mga pulitiko ngayon matatamis na salita, matatamis na pangako. Hindi naman nagbabago, napapako hanggang ngayon," he said.

His appeal to candidates: "Sana ngayon kung sana, magbibigay man sila ng binhi, abono na lang sana. Kasi pag binhi, local naman binibigay eh. 'Pag nag-spray ka, namamatay."

Pacquiao, in reaction, assured his full support to farmers.

"Sisiguraduhin ko na kung wala mang bumili ng palay nila sa mataas, ang gobyerno ang bibili sa kanila... Pag ako naging Presidente, i-abolish natin yang Rice Tariffication Law. Yung abono, dapat pababain kung hindi man magawa ng gobyerno ng libre. At least 50 percent ang ibababa ng presyo sa kasalukuyan," Pacquiao said.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao welcomed the Commission on Elections' ruling that favors the continuation of the Office of the Vice President's COVID-related projects.

"Si VP naman' yan eh. Sa akin, bakit ako magagalit? Bakit ko siya pagbabawalan eh ang taumbayan ang makikinabang? Nakatulong ka sa kapwa, nakatulong ka sa bayan. 'Wag pigilan kasi natulungan n'ya eh. Masaya nga ako pag may ganun," Pacquiao said.

"Pag ganun ang mga tao siguro, lalo na yung mga mayayaman dito sa bansa natin, di na ako tatakbo. Di na ako tatakbo kung ganun ang ugali ng mga mayayaman, may mga pera dito. Basta ang aking misyon is makita ko na tinutulungan yung mga mahihirap na tao. Yun naman ang intention ko. Wala akong intention na para sa sarili ko, 'no. Pag ganyan ang ugali ng sambayanan natin, bakit pa si MP tatakbo sa pulitika na ito?" he added.

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