MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – On Sunday, November 24, Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Rep Manny Pacquiao fought to redeem himself after a devastating loss last year, while the rest of his country – also fighting to recover from the destruction wrought by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) – watched.
His colleagues in Congress knew all too well what was at stake in his fight against American boxer Brandon Rios at the Cotai Arena in Macau.
No pressure, Manny! #Pacquiao #Tacloban #YolandaPH http://t.co/GMzTLFlc7E
No pressure, Manny! #Pacquiao #Tacloban #YolandaPH http://t.co/GMzTLFlc7E— Antonio L. Tinio (@tonchi) November 24, 2013
Cong. Manny, you may have the weight of the nation's expectations on your shoulders, but remember…@MannyPacquiao (1)— Ashley Acedillo (@ace_magdalo) November 24, 2013
..Remember, you have the power of our people's hopes in those mighty fists! Laban, Pacman! FTW! #PacquiaoRios @MannyPacquiao (2)— Ashley Acedillo (@ace_magdalo) November 24, 2013
In the end, Pacquiao defeated Rios via unanimous decision.
Pacquiao’s friend, Sen JV Ejercito watched the fight in Macau.
@rwantonino @luigiquisumbing Daming Pinoy sobra Boss! Nakakatuwa even the OFWs here saved money just to watch the fight! Filipino spirit!— JV Ejercito (@jvejercito) November 24, 2013
Meanwhile, his House colleague, Marikina Rep Miro Quimbo, showed his support from home.
I hate this anxious feeling before MP's fights. It's the same feeling I had each time Crispa would battle Toyota. #agerevealed
I hate this anxious feeling before MP's fights. It's the same feeling I had each time Crispa would battle Toyota. #agerevealed— Miro Quimbo (@miroquimbo) November 24, 2013
Hinga Manny. Hinga. I love you. Please don't lose. #nervousbreakdowncoming— Miro Quimbo (@miroquimbo) November 24, 2013
Lord, please tapusin mo na ito. Mas kailangan Ng bayan namin ito. Promise, dalawang beses ako magsisismba today.— Miro Quimbo (@miroquimbo) November 24, 2013
Champ, please naman, tapusin mo na. Pag ako nadala sa ER sa heart attack, walang doctor dun. Lahat nanunuod Ng Laban mo. Siege na champ— Miro Quimbo (@miroquimbo) November 24, 2013
I can't wait for the main event: Roach vs. Ariza. Let's get it on. Please clear the stage.— Miro Quimbo (@miroquimbo) November 24, 2013
Valenzuela Rep Sherwin Gatchalian had a message for Rios.
Rios should start learning how to box. He's good in public speaking though. Maybe he should run for congress.— Sherwin Gatchalian (@stgatchalian) November 24, 2013
When the officials finally announced that Pacquiao had emerged victorious, congratulatory messages from public officials poured in – each thanking Pacquiao for lifting Filipinos’ spirit at a time it was most needed.
Manny you are a good fighter!We know you could have knockedout Rios easily.May awa ka pa rin.You are the winner!— Lani Mercado Revilla (@lanimrevilla) November 24, 2013
The Pacman is back!!! Congrats sa ating Pambansang Kamao for a thoroughly convincing win over Rios @MannyPacquiao #PacquiaoRios— Ashley Acedillo (@ace_magdalo) November 24, 2013
Congratulations @MannyPacquiao ! Thank you for inspiring the Philippines again! #PacRios— LITO ATIENZA (@lito_atienza) November 24, 2013
Great win champ @MannyPacquiao !— Luigi Quisumbing (@luigiquisumbing) November 24, 2013
The Champ is back! The Filipino indomitable spirit!
The Champ is back! The Filipino indomitable spirit!— Rep. Sherwin Tugna (@SherwinTugna) November 24, 2013
In the midst of devastation and misery, we stand proud and strong before the world today. Daghang salamat, MANNY!— Gwen Garcia (@gwengarcia1ph) November 24, 2013
In these challenging times for our country, the victory of Cong. Manny Pacquiao came at the moment we needed it most #PacquioVsRios— Karlo Nograles (@Tatak_K) November 24, 2013
Manny's win is d most significant victory not just for his career in crisis but more importantly for d nation's sagging spirits. Mabuhay!— Teddy B. Baguilat (@Teddy_Baguilat) November 24, 2013
Manny's victory made the victims a little happy in the midst of their battle to survive the Yolanda aftermath.— Neri Colmenares (@BAYANMUNANeri) November 24, 2013
Eastern Samar Rep Ben Evardone, whose district was one of those hardest-hit by Typhoon Yolanda, said Pacquiao’s win is a big morale booster.
Pacquiao's victory will somehow lift up the spirit of the typhoon victims in their rebuilding efforts to live a normal life.— Ben Evardone (@congevardone) November 24, 2013
The victory of Manny Pacquiao is definitely a big morale booster to my constituents. Congrats Manny.— Ben Evardone (@congevardone) November 24, 2013
Sen Sonny Angara also extended his congratulations to his “friend and former colleagues: “Like our ‘boxing hero’ and ‘Pambansang Kamao’, Filipinos no doubt will get up and rise again. We have proven that in the past and we are going to prove it again before the eyes of the world.”
Meanwhile, former president and now Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, who watched the match live in Macau personally congratulated Pacquiao: “The victory of Manny is the victory of the Filipino people so on behalf of the Filipino people, I would like to thank Manny for this victory today. This will serve as a source of hope for millions of Filipinos, especially those who were badly affected by Typhoon Yolanda and other past disasters. Just like Manny, the Filipino people will rise, fight and succeed.”
VP, President congratulate Manny
Malacañang said the entire Philippines is cheering for Pacquiao.
“Manny’s victory in this fight serves as a source of strength and inspiration for the entire nation, after Typhoon Yolanda devastated a large part of the Visayan region. It is our hope that the principle that guides him in each fight does not change: that every punch he throws, is a punch for the honor of our people,” the Office of the Presidential spokesperson said in a statement.
Vice President Jejomar Binay thanked Pacquiao for dedicating his win to the Filipino people.
“He is an inspiration to his kababayans and a reminder that the Filipino can rise above adversity and weather any storm,” Binay said. – Angela Casauay/Rappler.com
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