Aquino, Pacquiao exchange pleasantries for 40 minutes

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Monday, April 21, 2014

PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Monday welcomed in Malacanang boxing icon Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao after his triumphant bout against American boxer Timothy Bradley Jr. early this month.

Wearing a white polo shirt, Pacquiao's courtesy call on the President took place around 2 p.m., one hour late on the supposed 1 p.m. schedule.

The courtesy call was moved because Aquino had to finish his first meeting, a Palace official said.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. who was present during the call said the President and Pacquiao exchanged pleasantries for about 40 minutes at the Music Room of the Malacanan Palace.

"Congressman Pacquiao discussed with the President concerns on the construction of farm-to-market roads in Sarangani, which is being delayed because of attacks made by lawless elements who have gone to the extent of burning road construction equipment," he said.

Aquino promised to order law enforcement authorities to take action on the matter, he said.

Pacquiao also conveyed to the President his excitement on welcoming the newest member of his family.

His wife Jinkee, who is also the incumbent Vice Governor of Sarangani, is due to deliver the couple's fifth child, a son, anytime this week, who according to published reports they will name "Israel."

"Congressman Pacquiao also pledged to the President that he will help in the government's campaign to raise awareness on the MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome)-Coronavirus among overseas Filipino workers based in the Middle East and to convince them to observe the necessary preventive measures implemented by the Department of Health," Coloma said.

Aquino and the congressman also exchanged notes on the prevailing cold weather in Los Angeles, California and Las Vegas, Nevada.

The President reminisced about his family's winter experience during his father’s medical furlough in Boston, Massachusetts, Coloma said.

The two officials never discussed Pacquiao's supposed P2.2-billion tax deficiencies with the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

During the call, Pacquiao was accompanied by members of his staff and supporters, led by Jayke Joson, chief of staff of Team Pacquiao. (SDR/Sunnex)

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