MANILA (UPDATE) - Sen. Manny Pacquiao on Monday said he was not careless during his recent birthday celebration, where people were seen without face masks in viral photos.
The lawmaker, who turned 42 last week, said he hosted less than 50 people in a space that can actually hold 300 and all of his guests underwent PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests for COVID-19 beforehand.
"Di po kami nagpabaya dun. Alam po namin na magkakaroon ng issue na ganiyan," he told ANC's Headstart. He added, he had to be careful as his young children were also in attendance.
(We were not careless. We know there will be an issue like that.)
Asked if he believes he did not violate any protocol in holding the party, Pacquiao said: "Wala naman po, maingat tayong nag-celebrate ng birthday party natin. Although simple lang, ang focus na lang natin is yung pamimigay ng relief goods saka pera sa ating mga kababayan."
(There's none, we carefully celebrated our birthday. Although it was simple, our focus instead became giving away relief goods and cash to the people.)
In photos shared by his wife, Jinkee, on Instagram, some guests were seen within close distance of each other and without masks, contrary to her "Naka-facemasks po lahat ang friends and family" caption.
Recently, Pacquiao also drew criticism after he distributed relief goods and gifts in an event in Batangas, where physical distancing was also allegedly not followed.
He said his team disseminated information and reminders on the minimum health protocols, such as the wearing of face masks and shields, but he cannot fault the people for crowding when they must be hungry.