Pacquiao firm he won’t quit presidential race

CANDIDATES FOR PRESIDENT AND VP Senator Manny Pacquiao and Deputy Speaker Lito Atienza at the filing of CoCs

MAKATI CITY — Senator Manny Pacquiao said he is determined to continue his presidential bid, saying the phrase “back out” is not in his vocabulary.

“I am a fighter and walang atrasan ito. Wala sa vocabulary ko ‘yang aatrasPara sa bayan. Kung ‘di nga ako umaatras para sa sarili ko, ano pa kaya ‘yung para sa bayan?” he said

Pacquiao made the statement following reports that a presidential candidate would soon withdraw from the race.

In the latest survey by Pulse Asia, presidential bets Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno are tied at the third spot with 8% each, while Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is still the frontrunner with 60%.

Despite lagging behind in surveys, the boxer-turned-politician said there is still enough time to improve his standing. He explained his current ranking is just like the rounds four and five in a boxing match.

“We remain very optimistic because we are seeing a snowballing of support in the Visayas and in Mindanao,” he added.

Pacquiao’s campaign manager Salvador Zamora also expressed optimism that the presidential hopeful will get the support of evangelical Christians, including the Jesus is Lord Church led by Deputy Speaker Eddie Villanueva.

Zamora believes Pacquiao’s readiness to attend presidential debates and fora will also help raise voter awareness about the latter.

Later, Pacquiao said he is against the proposal to ban sari-sari stores from selling over-the-counter drugs as these stores provide communities with quick access to medicines.

“Consider natin na hindi lahat ay malapit sa mga drug store. Sa ibang lugar baka 10 hanggang 20 kilometro ang layo ng bayan na kung saan may mga botika, tapos hindi pa lahat 24 hours open,” Pacquiao said in a statement. “Hindi lahat may sasakyan para umalis patungong bayan to buy medicine sa gabi.”

He also pointed out that people often buy non-prescription drug by piece, so the fare would cost more than the medicine they need.

Pacquiao also called for stricter measures against smuggling, saying this would stop the alleged proliferation of fake medicines.