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Pacquiao gets support of MNLF founder Misuari

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
Pacquiao gets support of MNLF founder Misuari
Sen. Manny Pacquiao at the first nationally televised presidential debates at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and aired on CNN Philippines on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022.
Marvin John Uy for Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential candidate Sen. Manny Pacquiao has earned the support of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) founding chairman Nur Misuari, the senator’s camp confirmed.

Pacquiao reportedly met with Misuari in a hotel in Manila on Monday, during which his camp said he was engaging in “private meetings” the whole day.

His camp released Thursday night a photo of Misuari raising Pacquiao’s hand, the go-to gesture of prominent individuals to show their support for a certain candidate.

The senator’s camp nonetheless said Misuari supports Pacquiao’s presidential bid, which – among other programs – is hinged on regional development and the decentralization of government services.

Pacquiao has also been banking on his being a Mindanao native and a Visayan to solidify support in the two island groups.

During his campaign activities in Bohol on Thursday, Pacquiao said he values the support of Misuari and his group and its affiliates, including the Philippines Visayas for Federalism Movement (PVFM).

“For me, the support of Nur and his group is very important because they are from Mindanao. And most importantly, they understand the problem of Mindanao. It’s impossible to solve the problems of Mindanao when the only ones talking are from Luzon,” Pacquiao told reporters.

To seal a great number of voters in Mindanao, Pacquiao has also scheduled talks with leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and MNLF.

Pacquiao said he had recently discussed his platform of government with former MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu and other key leaders of MILF.

His camp also said he presented his pro-poor, anti-corruption program of the government to the leaders of PVFM. The dates of the MILF and MNLF meetings were not revealed during a press conference held in Tagbilaran.

“I am hoping the MILF will join us in pursuing the advocacy of ensuring progress in Mindanao,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pacquiao’s camp said that during the senator’s discussions with Kabalu and the MILF, he “declared that he will pursue a shift to a federal form of government should he win the presidency.”

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