By Allen Estabillo
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Nov. 29 (PNA) — Boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao will visit Tacloban City and several parts of Eastern Visayas this weekend to conduct a relief mission for survivors of super typhoon “Yolanda.”
Michael Bren Evangelio, chief of staff of the Sarangani congressional office, said Friday the lawmaker will leave for the area on Saturday morning along with some members of the congressional staff, his boxing team and family members.
He said Pacquiao’s group will initially visit the town of Guiuan in Eastern Samar province, which was the first area where the typhoon made its landfall last November 8.
“They will also visit and distribute relief goods to affected residents in the towns of Mercedes and Salcedo in Eastern Samar and Basey in Samar province before going to Tacloban,” he said.
Evangelio said Pacquiao will spend the first night of the three-day relief mission in Tacloban City and the second night in Ormoc City.
He said the team, which will utilize a helicopter in moving the relief goods to the affected areas, is scheduled to return to this city and nearby Sarangani Province on Monday.
The Sarangani congressional office earlier prepared several truckloads of relief goods and medicine that will be distributed during the scheduled relief drive.
Evangelio said a team of volunteers from the province left for the area on Wednesday night along with the relief goods, which comprise family food packs and various non-food relief items.
On Friday morning, hundreds of runners and enthusiasts from various parts of Region 12 joined the “Pacman Run” in Alabel town in Sarangani Province that was launched to raise more funds for the survivors of typhoon “Yolanda.”
Region 12, which is also known as the Soccsksargen Region, comprises the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, Kidapawan and Cotabato.
Organizers said the proceeds of the activity, which was among the sidelights of the province’s 21st foundation anniversary celebration and 11th Munato Festival, will be donated to the typhoon victims.
Pacquiao, who defeated Mexican-American brawler Brandon “Bambam” Rios in his comeback fight in Macau, China last Sunday, said he has long been aching to visit Tacloban City and other areas affected by the typhoon to personally deliver relief assistance to the victims.
He returned home last Monday, a day after winning the World Boxing Organization’s international welterweight belt in a unanimous decision over a bloodied and badly beaten up Rios following their fight at the Cotai Arena of Macau’s Venetian Hotel and Casino.
Days after the onslaught of the typhoon last November 8, the lawmaker reportedly tried to take a break from training so he could visit the affected areas but was prevailed upon by his trainers.
The eight-division world boxing champion earlier dedicated the Rios bout for the victims of typhoon “Yolanda” and promised to immediately return home after the fight so he could attend to them.
Following his stunning knockout loss to Mexican nemesis Juan Manuel Marquez in December last year, Pacquiao hastily returned home to lead a relief mission then to victims of typhoon Pablo, which devastated parts of Eastern Mindanao.(PNA)