By U.S. News Agency / Asian
Lawmakers on Monday gave a rousing welcome to Saranggani Rep. Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao following his fresh victory over Mexican Antonio Margarito that gave him his eighth world boxing title.
“I’m overwhelmed I am back, there are many things to attend to here,” said Pacquiao in a press conference before he was awarded the Congressional medal of distinction.
“Masayang masaya ako sa malaking karangalan na ibinigay sa akin ng aking mga colleagues (I’m very happy for the honor that my colleagues gave me),” he said.
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., in his speech during the conferment, said “We honor Manny today not just for what he has achieved but more so for what his many victories signify for us, his countrymen.”
“Apart from his role as Representative of the Lone District of Saranggani, Manny has reminded us of our role to utilize our skills as leaders of government to inspire and instill basic values in our people, particularly the youth who will inherit this nation and become our future leaders. His strong faith is also a reminder for each of us to never forget humility and gratitude,” he said.
The Speaker said Pacquiao’s countless victories “should indeed make us stand proud as a people as it tells the world that individually and collectively we are strong and resilient as well as unwavering. His example is enough proof of our boundless energies as a people. It tells us that we too as a nation should never feel limited by our current conditions and use our existing resources creatively as a means towards winning every bout we need to face until we fully rise up and stand tall again.”
Pacquiao, in his acceptance speech, reiterated his call for unity among leaders and countrymen.
“We should unite to achieve the needed change,” he said in Filipino.
The boxing champion said he would continue to work for the completion of his dream projects for his district like putting up a provincial hospital, giving scholarship grants to deserving but poor students in his district, and medical assistance for the poor.
He said he will also sponsor livelihood programs to shore up employment in his impoverished district.
Right now, Pacquiao said, what he wants to achieve is to be a champion as a public servant.
After the conferment, session was adjourned for the surprise victory party hosted for him by his colleagues.
“This is our tribute for him. We’re very proud to have him as a colleague,” said close friend and Yacap party-list Rep. Carol Jayne Lopez, who heads the organizing panel along with An Waray party-list Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel.
Lopez said the Filipino boxing champ “can let his hair down. We’ll have dancing and singing. We know Manny loves to sing, he can jam with the band. We can request some of his favorite songs. It’s anything goes.”
Earlier, all lawmakers have agreed to chip in P1,000 each, but some have shelled out as much as P100,000 to cover the estimated P300,000 bill.
Some are bringing in boxes of wine and others, lechon (roasted pig), the Yacap party-list solon said.