Hero’s welcome at GenSan City for Pacquiao
by Aida C. Agad
General Santos City (18 April) -- People’s champ Manny Pacquiao is set to receive a hero’s welcome today here at his hometown.
Local government officials led by city mayor Pedro B. Acharon Jr. and South Cotabato 1st District representative Darlene Antonino-Custodio as well as boxing fans had each contributed a share in the preparation for the lavish welcome celebration after Pacquiao’s stunning victory over Mexican boxer Jorge Solis.
The 28-year-old Pacquiao kept his World Boxing Council international super featherweight crown by stopping the previously unbeaten Solis in the 8th round of Sunday’s bout with a flurry of blows that floored the Mexican twice. The Filipino boxing champion shifted to attack mode after being stung by a headbutt that led to a nasty cut above his left eyebrow in the sixth round.
President Arroyo lauded Pacquiao’s victory and urged Filipinos to use the win as an inspiration to battle poverty and other social ills. "Manny stands for the dream of every Filipino in the ring of life and the arena of the future," she said in a statement.
Custodio, Manny Pacquiao’s political rival in the congressional race for South Cotabato 1st District, also admitted that she is a fan of Pacquiao's exploits in the ring even before he decided to run for congressman.
She stressed, "ever since I've always said that when it comes to boxing, Manny has always been able to unite everyone. All the issues are forgotten. We unite to honor our boxing champion."
Custodio, however, said she does not see how Pacquiao's latest boxing victory would affect his chances in the congressional race, saying "actually, hindi ko masyadong makita 'yung link kasi every since naman noong pumasok pa lang si Manny, noong nag-file siya ng kandidatura niya he was already our People's Champ. He was already our boxing hero dito sa GenSan at 'yung pagkapanalo niya lately was expected as well by the people so hindi ito masyadong nakaapekto sa labanan sa politika," she said.
She said she expects a tough fight in the congressional race since Pacquiao has a bigger campaign war chest. (PIA 12) [top]