Pacquiao seeks Comelec exemption to help Agaton victims

Presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao will ask the Commission on Elections to allow him to send help to the victims of Tropical Storm Agaton which triggered a deadly landslide in Baybay City, Leyte and caused severe flooding many parts of the Visayas.

Pacquiao said the elections should not be a reason to deny typhoon victims the help they need. 

Dozens of people were reported dead after Agaton dumped heavy rains in the Eastern Visayas and some parts of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Tens of thousands of families were also evacuated due to severe flooding.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) reported that Agaton affected at least 95,741 families who are now in dire need of food, water, clothes, and blankets.

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“Sa ngayon, gusto ko mang tumulong at kung payagan tayo ng Comelec na tumulong tayo, ay tutulong tayo na hindi magkakaroon ng conflict doon sa kandidatura natin… Sana payagan tayo ng Comelec,” Pacquiao said.

If his request is turned down, Pacquiao said that he would ask his friends to pitch in to provide aid to Agaton victims.

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“Kakausapin ko yung mga kaibigan ko na may kaya, na mag-initiative sila na tumulong sila. Yun ang gagawin ko dahil kawawa naman yung mga kababayan natin na naghihirap,” Pacquiao said.

The retired boxing star opposed proposals that the Comelec should allow incumbent officials to use government funds to help the typhoon victims while restricting their rivals. 

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“Kung ‘di ako nasa posisyon, tapos tumakbo ako, eh ako bawal tumulong tapos pinayagan yung kalaban ko na kandidato sa local. ‘Yun ang magiging sistema. Magkaroon tayo ng mga favoritism. Dapat payagan din ang isang kandidato na wala sa posisyon, kung papayagan nila yung nasa posisyon na gamitin yung pondo,” Pacquiao explained.