GENERAL SANTOS CITY – World boxing icon and former senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao turned 45 last week and celebrated his birthday with celebrities, friends and relatives at a party at the Grand Summit Hotel in General Santos City.
Pacquiao’s wife, Jinky, entertained guests during the celebration along with family members.
Among those in the party were former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson, indicating that they have reconciled following Pacquiao’s decision to run for president which Singson said was untimely.
Well-known manager of stars Annabel Rama was also at the party with talents and other celebrities.
It is common knowledge in the boxing circles that Pacquiao is looking forward to 2024 with exhibition bouts.
On the eve of his birthday, Pacquiao chided China for its aggressiveness in South China Sea and West Philippine Sea.
For one, Pacquiao criticized the recent actions – water cannoning and collision – taken by China Coast Guard against Philippine vessels near Bajo de Masinloc in the West Philippine Sea.
The Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia blasted water cannons against Philippine vessels conducting a supply mission for Filipino fishermen in the area.
“I strongly condemn China’s recent actions in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines will not stand down to China’s bullying,” said Pacquiao in a statement.
“We are a nation of courageous people, and we will stand up for what is right and what is ours. China should work for peace in the region. We have always been open to dialogue and diplomacy, but we will not tolerate any attempt to bully us into submission.”
Pacquiao said that instead of taking aggressive action against Filipinos in Philippine waters, he urged China to take a diplomatic instead.
He supports a sincere dialogue between Philippine and Chinese authorities regarding the maritime dispute.
“The Philippines remains open to diplomatic discussions aimed at finding a peaceful and lawful resolution to the disputes in the South China Sea,” he said.
“We hope that through sincere dialogue, we can achieve stability and harmony in the region for the benefit of all nations involved,” he added.