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Manny Pacquiao files COC for senator, pushes for sports, youth development

Boxing icon Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao displays his certificate of candidacy for a seat in the Senate. Photographed by Maricel Halili
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - Commission on Elections staff watching over the process of the filing of certificates of candidacy struggled on Friday to restrain onlookers and members of the media trying to get close to Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao.

Pacquiao arrived with his wife Jinkee and sons Emmanuel Jimuel, Jr. and Michael Stephen to process paperwork for running for a Senate seat in the upcoming 2016 election.

To boisterous cheers, the boxing icon known otherwise as the National Fist promised to triumph over his new opponent: poverty.

The United Nationalist Alliance candidate said he would push for free, quality public education, given that he himself dropped out when he was young because his family could not afford to keep him in school.

He noted that there were four million out-of-school youth in 2013. He vowed that more young Filipinos would benefit from his efforts, just like thousands of his scholars now.

The boxing star also planned to put an end to the abuses that overseas Filipino workers have to endure and launch a comprehensive assistance framework for them, given that there were 2.3 million of them in 2014.

While OFWs send back billions in remittances, they are being beaten up and abused by their employers, or thrown in jail. Pacquiao said he would provide protection to them and their families.

Peace in Mindanao was another priority for him, and he wondered aloud if the Bangsamoro Basic Law was really the solution to the conflict there. He said that the problem must be resolved in a "non-partisan and just manner."

He would be an advocate for farmers, as well, and wished to provide incentives and subsidies for them, as well as prevent smuggling of agricultural produce, which, he said, was choking their livelihood.

Finally, the athlete said he would put a sports development reform program in place. Filipino children who show skills in sports would be nurtured from their youth, until the time when they were ready to face the world stage.

"It is time for the Philippines to be known as a force in sports," Pacquiao declared.