|REP. MANNY PACQUIAO is greeted by Philippines Today USA Correspondent Lolit Rivera Acosta at the NAIA Terminal 2 caption
By LOLIT RIVERA ACOSTA
Special to Philippines Today USA
NINOY AQUINO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (PhilAmPress/PhlTodayUSA) – After successful promotion of his April 9 fight against American world welterweight champion Timothy Bradley in the United States, world boxing icon and congressman Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao planed in with his wife, outgoing Sarangani Vice Governor Jinkee Pacquiao.
Wearing a jacket on top of a shirt, Pacquiao, now a Christian pastor and a man at 37, emerged with a Bible on his hand and a big smile, indicating his happiness to be back in his native country which he wants to serve with utmost dedication upon his retirement from boxing.
This reporter was among the first to greet the fighting congressman from Sarangani province at the country’s premier airport and noticing he was holding a big Bible, we quoted Titus 1:16 and asked if he will really “walk the talk” and be true to his promises if he gets elected as Senator of the Philippines.
The world’s only fighter with eight division championship belts had a ready answer: “I will fulfil it to the letter!” Pacquiao was referring to his vow to concentrate in helping the further the people and focus on legislations and other measures for them and doing one last fight before hanging his gloves.
“Tutuparin ko po lahat ng pinangako ko sa kababayan ko sa GenSan (General Santos City) at Sarangani at maisuguro na kapanan ng taongbayan ang uunahin ko. ( I will fulfil my promises made before the people of GenSan and Sarangani and will ensure the welfare of the people will be my first priority),” he stressed. “
His wife, Jinkee, who has earlier decided not to seek reelection as vice governor so she can concentrate on helping her husband pursue his political career and help the people, also managed to smile to this reporter and every one despite the long haul flight from Los Angeles aboard a Philippine Air Lines (PAL) plane upon arrival at the NAIA Centennial Terminal.
Pacquiao, who is considered a shoo-in for the Senate post as he figures prominently in the so-called Magic 12 for winning senatoriables, stressed that he will submit his plans to God first.
“Ang Panginoong Dyos.. sa kanyang kalooban ang masusunod,” he said in Filipino.
Pacquiao and Bradley, together with Top Rank officials led by Bob Arum, promoted their upcoming fight – their third — at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas on April 9, during whirlwind visits, press conferences and television appearances at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles and the Madison Square Garden in New York.
While in New York, Pacquiao also underwent a medical checkup of the rotator cuff of his shoulder which was damaged in his last fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
and which was operated upon in a Los Angeles facility. He was declared fully recovered and fit for his next fight.
To prove that his shoulder has healed completely, Pacquiao played basketball with his friends at the Benjamin Franklin High School in Los Angeles.
Pacquiao’s wife is visibly happy that her husband has finally decided to retire from boxing. Jinkee and Pacquiao’s mother, Dionisia, had been egging Pacquiao to retire for years now.
She added that it was about time to retire so her husband has more time also with his family.
In Los Angeles, Pacquiao declared that he was happy with his decision to retire after his bout against Bradley for the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown.
“I’ve been boxing more than 20 years, and I think it’s enough for me,” the Filipino boxing hero declared at the press conference during which Arum praised him for his achievements and his contribution to the world of boxing.
“After this fight, I’m going to hang up my gloves and focus on my countrymen, to help the people,” Pacquiao to the media at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Pacquiao added that his last fight is a “historic fight in my career.”
“The greatest achievement in life, (it is) not what we have done (for ourselves) but what we do to others, especially our relationship with God,” said Pacquiao.
Pacquiao said that he went into boxing to help his mother, Dionisia, and his family.
“Now, I want to help my countrymen, the Filipino people. Now I end my boxing career, my desire in my heart, I want to help the Filipino people,” he added.
For her part, Pacquiao’s wife Jinkee said: “Malungkot, pero ako naman happy kasi pinapag-pray din naman namin na okay naman siya sa boxing, pwede na siya mahinto. Pwede na ma-retire, family time and then politics kasi doon naman siya mag-focus (It’s sad, but I am happy because we have been praying that he is okay in boxing and could now stop. It’s ripe to retire, family time and politics where he would focus).”