MANILA— Presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Tuesday promised to push for sweeping reforms in the agricultural sector by amending the Rice Tariffication Law, which caused distress among local farmers.
"Halos hingin na ang kanilang mga ani dahil sa baba ng bentahan. Paano naman mabubuhay ang ating mga magsasaka?" Pacquiao said before making the rounds in the city of Mati for the first part of the Davao region leg of his Mindanao sorties.
(They are forced to almost give away their crops for free because of the low pricing. How will our farmers survive?)
Pacquiao pointed out that the country should stop depending on imported rice and venture to become self-reliant.
He said that the government should also help farmers by directly procuring palay from them.
Pacquiao added he is planning to launch a directive, if he gets elected, that will catch corrupt politicians by surprise.
"Hindi ko na lang sasabihin muna kung ano dahil baka mapaghandaan nila. Magugulat na lang sila," he said.
(I will not say just yet as they might find ways to evade. All I can say is they will be caught by surprise.)
Pacquiao has previously said he plans to build a Mega Prison that will be used to jail corrupt government officials.
After meeting with local officials of Mati, Pacquiao, who was accompanied by his wife Jinkee, had a motorcade around the city.
Mati residents poured onto the streets waving homemade banners expressing their support for Pacquiao. They even rushed to his float, and some tried to climb it just to touch their idol.
Pacquiao later proceeded to the Mati Cultural Center to distribute relief and cash aid to some 1,000 poor Mati residents.
He also met with Mati Bishop Abel Apigo for a courtesy call.