[PHOTO - STILL THE PRAYER CHAMPION. Manny Pacquiao leads the offering during a thanksgiving Mass celebrated at the Quiapo Church upon his arrival on Saturday. Pacquiao, who last week lost a controversial split to challenger Timothy Bradley Jr., arrived to a subdued welcome. He flew to Sarangani which has been hit hard by “Butchoy.” RICHARD A. REYES]

MANILA,  JUNE 17, 2012 (INQUIRER) By Tina G. Santos - He may have lost in the ring, but Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao firmly believes he remains a winner, what with the support of God and the Filipino people.

Pacquiao arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport early Saturday morning, a week after his controversial loss to American Timothy Bradley.

“It’s OK. In the heart of God and the Filipino people, I am the winner,” he said as he thanked his compatriots for their support and prayers.

Pacquiao lost to Bradley in a split decision which ended Pacquiao’s remarkable seven-year winning streak but drew widespread criticism.

Most observers thought Pacquiao had easily defended his welterweight title against Bradley.

But Pacquiao said he harbored no hard feelings.

“It’s not a problem with me. I don’t think I lost anything,” he said in Filipino.

He urged Filipinos to accept the verdict and move on.

“I really thank you for your support, but let’s just forget what happened and accept it wholeheartedly,” he said.

Pacquiao’s arrival statement on Saturday was preceded by a prayer offered by a pastor from General Santos City.

A streamer with the message “Welcome home Manny, ang aming kampeon (our champion),” greeted him.

Another banner held up by a group of supporters read “Manny Pacquiao, boxer of the century.”

Pacquiao was showered with confetti although his arrival this time was much less festive. The crowd that greeted him at the airport was also noticeably thinner.

The Saranggani representative said he hurried home to help the flood victims in his province.

“I decided to return to my province because my constituents are there, they were affected by floods, they need my help,” he said.

He said he left behind his wife, Jinkee, and four children in the United States.

He said he would return to the US after attending to his constituents’ needs.

“I’ll return to my family once the problem in Sarangani is over,” he said.

Sarangani was one of the areas hardest hit by flash floods brought by a shallow low pressure area last week.

As is his habit, Pacquiao proceeded to Quiapo Church for a thanksgiving Mass.

Addressing hundreds of churchgoers from the pulpit of the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene, he said he was a reformed man.

“I used to gamble, drink and womanize. I often cussed but I have repented for that. I no longer want to do those things.”

“Because it is useless,” he continued, “Going to church over and over to ask for forgiveness but repeating the same sins.”

The boxing champ shared the beauty of reading the Bible, living out its verses and of being prepared for the Second Coming.

“Are we ready? For me, if the Lord were to take me I am prepared. Even now, after I finish speaking before you, if the Lord takes me I know where I will go. I would be brought to the Kingdom of Heaven,” he said.

The crowd at Quiapo Church had also dwindled considerably. With reports from Jeannette I. Andrade and AP

Pacquiao arrives in Sarangani to help flood victims Posted at 06/17/2012 1:07 PM | Updated as of 06/17/2012 7:28 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao arrived in General Santos City 10 a.m. on Sunday on board a private plane.

He was welcomed by GenSan 1st district Representative Pedro Acharon Jr., GenSan Mayor Darlene Custodio, Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas, Sarangani Vice Governor Steve Solon, members of the media and some fans.

Unlike his usual homecoming after a boxing fight which includes a motorcade, Pacquiao’s arrival was preceded by a press conference because his main purpose of returning to the province is to help those who were affected by the recent natural calamity.

The town of Glan in Sarangani was declared under state of calamity last week after severe floods inundated several villages in the area.

Authorities said Barangay Cross was the worst-hit by the floods, with an estimated 250 families affected.

Schools in four barangays severely affected by the floods have called off classes.

After the press conference, Pacquiao went straight to Glan to bring relief goods to flood victims.

In his interview on Saturday, Pacquiao said he has no qualms about spending Father’s Day away from his family because he needs to make sure that his constituents are well taken care of.

Custodio said the town will just give Pacquiao a hero’s welcome when the boxer returns to the country after their family vacation. – from a report by Francis Canlas, ABS-CBN News SOKSARGEN

Pacquiao gives cash, relief goods to Sarangani storm victims By Aquiles Z. Zonio Inquirer Mindanao

GLAN, Sarangani Province, Philippines — There was none of the usual hero’s welcome for world boxing champion and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao who arrived at the General Santos City airport via private plane at 10 a.m. Sunday.

Still, people lined up to see him. This time, however, the boxing champ was giving out relief assistance to those who were affected by the flashfloods that hit this town last week.

From the airport in General Santos City, Pacquiao’s convoy of more than 20 vehicles proceeded to this town to distribute relief goods and cash assistance.

He gave out an initial one sack of rice and P10,000 cash to every family directly affected by the calamity.

Pacquiao also pledged to purchase lots for the relocation of all displaced families in Glan.

“All these are coming from my personal pockets. My gifts for you from the proceeds of my recent fight with Timothy Bradley,” he said laughing. (Pacquiao lost in a controversial split decision in Las Vegas the other week.)

Pacquiao said he couldn’t wait for funds from government because “government bureaucracy grinds so slow.”

He could not say yet how long he would be staying here. “Maybe three to five days. I just cut short my family vacation to help my constituents who were affected by the calamity,” he said.

Before his homecoming, he said, he explained to his children his responsibility as public official.

“I told my children I have to rush home to help the people in my district. This is part of my responsibility as a public servant,” he said.

Pacman spends Father's Day with flood victims

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino boxer and Sarangani congressman Manny Pacquiao will donate part of his winnings from his recent prize fight to Saranggani residents who were affected by floods last week.

While Pacquiao lost his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title to unbeaten American Timothy Bradley Jr. last June 9, he still stands to make at least $26 million from the fight.

The “Pacman” was with his family in the United States, but cut short his vacation after floods hit Sarangani, especially the towns of Glan and Maasim. He spent Sunday, Father's Day, giving aid to residents in 4 barangays devastated by the floods.

“Galing ako sa airport kahapon at dumiretso ako sa Sarangani. Naghatid ako ng bigas, sardinas at noodles, at konting financial support,” he told radio DZMM.

"Kahit hindi naging maganda ang resulta sa fight, ito balato ko sa inyo," he added.

Pacquiao confirmed that he will donate at least P2 million to the typhoon victims.

“Sabi ko sa mga nabahaan, ‘yung mga nakatira sa tabing ilog, 'wag kayong mag-alala. ‘Yung pera na kinita ko ngayon, ibibili ko ng lupa para ibigay ko sa inyo,” Pacquiao said.

“I-divide n’yo sa bawat pamilya, para hindi na kayo babalik doon at maulit-ulit pa yung mga pangyayari,” he added.

Pacquiao confirmed that the money used to buy the relief goods came from his own pocket.

“Kung hihintayin ‘yung sa gobyerno, matatagalan pa tayo dahil ipa-process pa,” he explained.

Pacquiao will go back to the US to continue his vacation with his family once he finishes his work in Sarangani.

“Sabi ko nga, iniwanan ko na ‘yung pamilya ko sa America dahil ‘yung problema sa Sarangani, hindi ko pwedeng baliwalain. Bilang ama, may malaking tungkulin ako na gagampanan sa Sarangani,” he said.

He added: "Sabi ko sa kanila, 'Nandito ako dahil importante din kayo sa akin.'"

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

All rights reserved