GenSan, Sarangani ready for ‘Pacman’ homecoming

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/12 May) — The local governments of Sarangani and this city are all set for the homecoming festivities on Thursday for world boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.

Lawyer Glenda Narcilla, spokesperson of the City Mayor’s Office, said Tuesday the necessary arrangements are already in place for the grand hero’s welcome for Pacquiao, who is returning home nearly two weeks after losing his epic fight with undefeated American fighter Floyd Mayweather Jr. in Las Vegas.

She said Pacquiao, along with his family and team members, is scheduled to arrive in Manila on Wednesday and will fly home on Thursday.

The boxing sensation was initially scheduled to return last May 8 but was reset due to an operation on a shoulder injury he suffered weeks before the fight.

Narcilla said that based on their arrangements with Sarangani officials, the hero’s welcome will be a joint undertaking of the two local governments.

Upon Pacquiao’s arrival at the city airport, she said he will be given military honors by a joint Army and police contingent.

She said city and Sarangani officials led by Mayor Ronnel Rivera, Vice Mayor Shirlyn Nograles and Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon will then line up to meet and greet Pacquiao.

“We have prepared a festive theme for his arrival,” she said in an interview over TV Patrol Socsksargen.

The official said they have set up a stage where Pacquiao will give his arrival message to the welcoming crowd.

After the brief program, Narcilla said Pacquiao and his family will be joined by local officials for a float parade around the city.

She said it will later conclude at the SM mall here where a press conference and another welcome program will be held.

“We advised our barangay councils and business establishments to put up welcome banners to make the float parade more festive,” she said.

The local governments of Sarangani and this city earlier decided to give Pacquiao a hero’s welcome even if he lost his fight against Mayweather.

Mayweather defeated Pacquiao via unanimous decision to wrest the unified World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization and World Boxing Council welterweight belt.

Mayor Rivera, who is a close political ally of Pacquiao, said the latter remains a champion for the city and deserves a hero’s welcome despite the result of the fight. (MindaNews)