Philippine ring icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has once again invited Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia to join him in the ring as he fights former four-time world champion Shane Mosley on May 7 in Las Vegas, Navada.
In his letter to Leonardia dated March 18, 2011, Pacquiao said he is inviting the mayor to be among his few trusted friends to come into the ring with him – either to carry one of his championship belts or the Philippine flag before the fight begins.
“Your presence in the ring during my many previous title fights has been a great morale support for me. Undoubtedly, you are among my lucky charms,” Pacquiao said.
An adopted son of Bacolod, Pacquiao also invited Leonardia’s wife and his daughter, but the mayor said they are not going.
Leonardia stressed that he is not spending government funds for his trip to the U.S. “Where travels abroad are concerned, I have not spent a single centavo of government fund since the time I was yet a councilor up to the present,” he said.
Meanwhile, Leonardia said Pacquiao’s choice of him as his belt holder is a reflection of how he regards Bacolod City and he thanks the solon for giving the city special attention in his interviews, and for his presence during the inaugural ceremony of city officials last year.
He said he is leaving for the U.S. next week and he has an invitation to speak before a hundred people in Los Angeles, California, aside from the Bacolod Society in America.
Leonardia said this is one of the major programs the Bacolod City Tourism Council will have for the city’s tourism industry – the “Balik Bacolod” drive for the MassKara Festival, he said.
The mayor has also been invited by the Pilipino American Association of Rohnert Park in Northern California led by its president Lorraine Datu, and the Livemore Filipino-American Organization in Daly City, California, led by its president Pinky Kelsey, to a series of talks and meetings with Bacoleños and Negrenses in their area and to help them plan a visit to their homeland.
Leonardia has also been invited by the Philippine Nurses Association of Nevada led by Cristy Sampal to share with them what Bacolod has to offer in terms of tourism and healthcare needs, particularly the possibility of conducting a medical-surgical mission in Bacolod City.*CGS