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Soldier Pacquiao says he would fight alongside troops

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But superiors won’t let him

By Joel Guinto
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 13:53:00 07/06/2008

MANILA, Philippines–Boxing champion Manny Pacquaio would fight alongside government troops if he had his way, but his commanders won’t let him.

“Ayaw nila ako pasamahin e, baka daw hamunin ko sila ng boxing [They won’t let me join. I might end up challenging them to a round of boxing],” Pacquiao said in a speech at the packed Camp Aguinaldo grandstand on Sunday.

“Bilang reservist Army, proud na proud ako. Pinagkakalat ko kahit sa Amerika [I am very proud to be an Army reservist. I brag about it even in America],” said Pacquiao, who is fresh from a win in Las Vegas, where he earned his fourth world title.

Pacquiao, who holds the rank of master sergeant, said he has been asked during his training in the US why he has not fought in the field, to which he has replied that his superiors do not allow him.

“I am very happy because since childhood, it has always been my dream to become a soldier, but I ended up in boxing, but nonetheless, I am thankful because I was given a chance to become a reservist,” he said.

Pacquiao was mobbed by fellow soldiers, who brought along their wives and children, for pictures. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Alexander Yano announced his arrival mimicking the voice of a ring announcer.

During the brief ceremony, Yano also awarded him with a command plaque, instead of a promotion as in his in past fights, since he holds the highest rank for enlisted personnel.

“[I asked General Yano] to demote me, so that I could be promoted again. Thank you very much, general. You are my idol,” he said.

Pacquiao said he has been friends with Yano for a long time, when he was just starting to break into the international scene, and Yano, then a colonel, was commander of the 602nd Infantry Brigade based in his hometown of General Santos City.

“Now that I am the [best] pound for pound [boxer], he [Yano] is the best pound for pound [soldier] because he is the chief of staff of the AFP,” Pacquiao said.

Yano missed Pacquiao’s fight last Sunday because he personally supervised relief operations for victims of typhoon “Frank” (international codename: Fengshen) in the Western Visayas.

The military chief said he had the fight taped and he watched it as soon as he got back to Manila.

“I saw in the media how you helped the typhoon victims in Iloilo and in other places like Romblon. Our soldiers really helped and I am proud of you,” he said.

Pacquiao also invited the crowd to the fund-raising concert he was organizing to raise money for the typhoon victims, on top of the P3 million that he has donated. But Pacquiao, who has cut several albums, did not sing during the program. He left hurriedly for a guest spot at a noontime variety show.

View article as posted on INQUIRER.net

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Written by joelguinto

SunUTC2008-07-06T06:18:16+00:00UTC07bUTCSun, 06 Jul 2008 06:18:16 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am07

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