GENERAL SANTOS CITY, South Cotabato, Philippines — As the 2022 campaign period came to a close on Saturday, presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao made his mining de advance here in his hometown to cap off his campaign.
The event took place at the Oval Plaza here, the same venue where he kicked off his campaign last February.
General Santos City has a total of 360,232 registered voters, according to the tally of the Commission on Elections.
In his speech, which he started at about 10:20 p.m., Pacquiao reiterated his plans for free housing, his vow to stomp out corruption in government, and his plans on how to boost economic activity.
He also reiterated his vow to order the review of government contracts, saying the executive order for this would be the first issuance he would sign should he win as the next president.
The senator also said he would push for a minimum wage hike, saying the amount should be the same in Metro Manila and the provinces.
As he ended his speech, he urged voters to join his bid for the presidency, which he called a “revolution of the poor.”
Before going home to General Santos City, Pacquiao held the first leg of his miting de avance in Cebu City on Friday night, hoping to woo Visayan votes.
The event was the culmination of campaign activities he held across Cebu province, the most vote-rich province in the Philippines in the last stretch of his presidential campaign.
Like the miting de avance in Cebu City, the Saturday event was also star-studded, attended by as singers such as Marcelito Pomoy, Mitoy, J Brothers, Max Surban, Faith Cuneta, and Freddie Aguilar.
Members of the Gutierrez family — patriarch Eddie, matriarch Anabelle Rama, and Richard and Ruffa — also graced the event to express their support for the candidacy of Pacquiao.
The senator was accompanied by his mother Dionisia and wife Jinkee. His brothers Ruel and Bobby were also present at the event.
A key figure in Pacquiao’s candidacy, however, was absent during the event: his running mate, Buhay Rep. Lito Atienza.
He only had a recorded video message played during the event.
Also, only one of the candidates under his senatorial slate attended his miting de avance – former Eastern Samar Gov. Lutz Barbo.
The other senatorial candidates — including broadcast personality Raffy Tulfo, former Vice President Jejomar Binay — only had their audio-visual presentations flashed before the screen at the event.
In his speech, Barbo called on the crowd to vote for Pacquiao, saying he was not a thief nor a liar, unlike other candidates.
“We should make a stand to elect a president in Malacañang who can be trusted, because the sibling of a liar is a thief,” Barbo said in Filipino.
Pacquiao earlier said he had wanted to hold a series of rallies in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Instead, he focused the last days of his presidential campaign in just the Visayas and Mindanao.
On Saturday, Pacquiao said he was not feeling any anxiety about the results of the May 9 polls, saying he was ready to face, just like any boxer.
He added that he would not want voters to regret their choice in the end.