MANILA - Presidential aspirant Senator Manny Pacquiao continued his week-long sortie in Davao province, which on Tuesday night, was highlighted by his own version of ‘Talk to the People’ followed by cash aid distribution.
Meeting more than 5,000 locals of Mati who flocked to the city’s Cultural Center, Pacquiao took the opportunity to again list down his platform of government which includes giving free houses to all indigent families in the Philippines, jailing corrupt government officials, reviving the economy and bringing more employment opportunities to the people.
The occasion also allowed the people to directly ask Pacquiao for help.
A housewife narrated in tears the plight of her husband who still cannot return from Saudi Arabia due to his expired visa.
Pacquiao responded by immediately instructing his staff to get the details of the wife so his office can do the mediation for her husband’s return to the country.
A person with disability also raised the issue of lack of opportunities for them.
Pacquiao has promised to give them opportunities and his intention to give them, including senior citizens, a monthly allowance if possible.
The senator meantime underlined the so-called “equality” being promised by many candidates during the campaign which in truth he said, is not happening, especially between Christians and Muslims.
“Ang totoong equality ay 'yung halimbawa, kung may palengke for Christians, meron ding palengke para sa Muslims…Ang totoong equality ay 'yung kung may school for Christians, dapat meron ding school for Muslims,” Pacquiao told the applauding crowd using the Visayan dialect.
He ended his visit in Mati with a courtesy visit to Bishop Abel Apigo at the St. John of the Cross Clergy House in Central Mati.
Prior to these engagements, the senator also briefly met with Mati Mayor Michelle Rabat for his usual courtesy call with local executives.
Interview by ABS-CBN News Rabat said Mati is an open city for any political candidate.
Mati City, a coastal town which derives its livelihood from agriculture and tourism, has more or less 100,000 registered voters.
Only eight out of the 26 barangays here still faces insurgency problems, she said.
For her, the NTF-ELCAC’s Barangay Development Fund has significantly help them flush out communists in their remote areas.
Rabat said people of Mati do not engage in political bickering, and appreciate candidates who, instead of sowing divisions or criticisms, promote unity and progress.
“They’ve (people of Mati) heard everything. Every election, it’s always promised to them. But what they want to see is, what is real. Ano ba, is it really happening, no promises. Just do it,” Rabat said.
“Sabi nga ng tao, pagod na kami sa, living in fear, because of the COVID… For now, simple living ang tao. Ayaw nila ng gulo, ayaw nila ng ingay, ayaw ng siraan. They just want the positive, the high road. Just positive lang. We don’t want to hear bashing, magulo. Because we’ve been there eh. It’s a mental issue for all of us,” she added.
For candidates visiting Mati, Rabat advised them to really listen to their people before making any promise or commitment.
“Simple living, simple life. Priorities now is we go back to basics, I should say, what we learn in school. Water, food, light, housing and clothing. So when you go back to this people. That’s what they ask for,” Rabat said.
And what Mati people really need according to Rabat, is their “water”.
“Here, sometimes in many barangays, they have to walk, how many kilometers to get their water. That’s been a priority. Water and their housing. Where do they live.. Most live in public land. And that’s the priority to relocate, because they live in danger zone,” Rabat said.
On Wednesday, Pacquiao's schedule included another round of aid distribution in Tagum City and courtesy call to the local officials of Tagum City, Nabunturan and Panabo. He will also visit Bishop Medol Aseo of Tagum and squeeze in his participation at the Senate session.