Pacquiao receives red carpet welcome in General Santos City

GENERAL SANTOS CITY — The city government and the provincial government of Sarangani rolled out the red carpet for the homecoming here on Friday morning of world boxing champion, Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao.

Pacquiao, who wrested the World Boxing Organization welterweight title in a historic win on Sunday against former champion Jessie Vargas, arrived at the city airport here at around 8:40 a.m. amid a rousing hero’s welcome.

He was met by city and Sarangani officials led by City Mayor Ronnel Rivera and Governor Steve Chiongbian Solon.

“Thank you for your prayers and continuing support. (This win) is for all of you,” Pacquiao said before joining an hour-long motorcade around the city.

Wearing a lavender polo and jeans, Pacquiao beamed as thousands of residents showed up at the roadside to cheer him.

Shouts of “Manny, Manny” filled the air as a huge crowd greeted the boxing champion as his motorcade passed by communities, business establishments and schools.

The motorcade ran through Barangays Fatima, Tambler, Calumpang, Labangal and Dadiangas West before proceeding to the SM City mall here.

The city government and the provincial government of Sarangani hosted a tribute program and a press conference for Pacquiao at the mall’s atrium.

Rivera hailed Pacquiao for giving honor and pride anew to the city and the entire for winning the WBO welterweight championship belt.

“The people of General Santos is always behind you,” the mayor said.

Gov. Solon said Pacquiao reiterated that Pacquiao is really not due for retirement” despite his age and lauded his mark in history as the first sitting senator in the world to win a world boxing title.

The “fighting senator,” who grew up in Barangay Labangal here, will turn 38 years old next month.

The eight-division world boxing champion, who is considered a local hero, represented Sarangani at the House of Representatives before winning a Senate seat in last May’s elections. Annaliz Cabrido/