PRESS FREEDOM. Presidential aspirant Sen. Manny Pacquiao and wife, Jinkee (center), join the Cagayan de Oro Press Club in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Press Freedom Monument, Misamis Oriental Capitol grounds on Saturday (April 30, 2022). The monument is in honor of fallen journalists and media workers. (PNA photo by Nef Luczon)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Sen. Manny Pacquiao paid tribute to journalists and other media workers who died in the line of duty before proceeding to his presidential campaign rally here over the weekend.

Pacquiao, together with his wife, Jinkee, and other senatorial candidates in his slate offered wreaths at the Press Freedom Monument at the Misamis Oriental capitol grounds on Saturday.

He was joined by members and officers of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club, Inc. (COPC).

"Part of our freedom and democracy is having a freedom to express and to have a free press," Pacquiao said.

His visit was also in support of the observance of the World Press Freedom Day on May 3.

Members of the COPC said Pacquiao is the first and so far, only one, among the 10 presidential aspirants to have visited the monument.

He paid a courtesy call on Misamis Oriental Gov. Yevgeny Vincente Emano before joining the campaign rally where he asked the public to give him a chance as he will serve, protect, and help Filipinos improve their lives.

“We should open our eyes because every election, I am disgusted. Every election, politicians have wonderful promises, but why is the Filipino people still suffering?” he said in Filipino.

Lt. Col. Ariel Philip Pontillas, Deputy Director for Operations of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office, said they deployed about 100 police personnel to provide security assistance and ensure the observance of minimum public health standards against Covid-19. (With a report from Nef Luczon/PNA)