Pacquiao forgoes birthday celebration to help typhoon victims

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 17 2021 10:23 PM | Updated as of Dec 18 2021 03:25 AM

(UPDATE) Presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao has decided to forego plans to hold a grand party for his 43rd birthday on Friday and decided to allocate his birthday funds to help the victims of Typhoon Odette.

Pacquiao, who gives cash and gifts to poor communities in General Santos City and Sarangani during his birthday, is also cutting down the number of beneficiaries so that he can send aid to typhoon victims.

The retired boxer said during his relief and cash-giving activity in Digos City that he and his wife Jinkee have agreed to cancel birthday celebration plans.

He however will push through with his tradition of giving food packs and cash to poor residents of Sarangani and General Santos City.

“Imbes na 5,000 katao na palagi nating binibigyan kapag birthday ko, gagawin nating 2,000 na lang para yung 3,000 maipadala agad natin sa mga nasalanta ng Odette,” Pacquiao said.

(Instead of the traditional gift-giving to 5,000 beneficiaries on my birthday, we will cut that down to 2,000 so that we can give the rest to the victims of Odette.)

Pacquiao continued his annual gift-giving activity to around 2,000 indigent families at Labangal Elementary School, where he finished elementary, and later proceeded to their warehouse and helped in repacking relief goods for typhoon victims.

Aside from the usual relief goods, tote bags to be given to typhoon victims will include some cash assistance, he said.

“Hindi lamang pagkain o mga sardinas, mga ganyan. May cash din tayo na ibinibigay. Yung cash malaking bagay yan, kasi hindi mo alam minsan 'yung pamilya mo kailangang bumili ng gatas, kailangang bumili ng gamot o kailangang bumili ng pampagawa ng bahay nila, makatulong. Maraming mga pangangailangan na, 'yung pagkain okay 'yan. tapos pag may kasamang cash mas mabuti,” he stressed.

Bernard Peralta, Pacquiao’s communication director, said they were able to borrow 6 cargo planes that will transport relief goods coming from their office, as well as that of Vice President Leni Robredo.

Part of their plan, he said, is to visit Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Leyte and Caraga region.

“Hinihintay na lang naming clearance.. malalaman namin kung ia-allow kami bukas. Si Senator (Pacquiao) gusto nyang pumunta, kaya lang walang la-landingan (ang eroplano),” Peralta told ABS-CBN News.

Pacquiao led a prayer for the areas that were hit by Odette.

“Para sa aking mga kababayan na apektado ng bagyo, kapit lang po. Help is coming. Manalig lamang po sa ating Panginoon at hindi Niya kayo pababayaan,” Pacquiao said.

(To our kababayans hit by the storm, hang on. Help is coming. Keep the faith, the Lord will look over you.)

Pacquiao reiterated his appeal to fellow candidates to refrain from talking about politics during this period.

“Marami talagang nangangailangan at nagugutom ngayon. Kaya nga nananawagan ako sa lahat ng mga pulitiko, mga kandidato, huwag muna nating pag-usapan ang pulitika. Huwag muna tayong maging busy sa pangangampanya, o pag-iikot,” Pacquiao said.

— With a report from Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

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