Pacquiao plans Tacloban visit
MACAU—While sifting through news reports of the devastation Supertyphoon “Yolanda” wrought on the country, Manny Pacquiao was so overcome with grief that he nearly broke camp and flew to Leyte to see what he could do for the storm survivors.
His team, led by Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, discouraged him from doing so. Pacquiao relented, reasoning to himself that he could bring “more happiness to the people” if he hammers out a convincing victory over Brandon Rios in their welterweight showdown here.
He did, though, make one promise in front of media people before plunging into training yesterday.
“I am going to Tacloban upon my return,” said the eight-division champion.
Pacquiao has a personal connection with Leyte. His mother, Dionisia, is from there.
That’s why Pacquiao took time out to facilitate donations and relief goods and also offered prayers and words of encouragement for the victims.
Pacquiao also plans to use the incident as an inspiration to strive even harder.
“I am dedicating this fight to the victims,” said Pacquiao. “It made me even more motivated.”
Aside from his mother, Pacquiao said he has relatives and friends in Leyte.
“Some of my house help also hail from the (damaged) area, and their houses were destroyed,” said Pacquiao, who praised the outpouring of aid and support for the Yolanda victims worldwide.
Over 30 countries, headed by the United States and Great Britain, and giant companies, like Samsung, have responded to the urgent call for help, generating more than $90 million in less than two weeks.
Pacquiao said his visit to Tacloban would allow him to make personal contributions and check the ravaged city to see how else he can provide help to those affected by the storm, which struck the country last Nov. 8 and left a trail of death and destruction.