MANILA: Boxing icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao has volunteered to be the poster boy in the campaign to encourage more tourists to visit the Philippines.
Pacquiao made the offer following an order from President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino cancelling a new tourism slogan “Pilipinas, Kay Ganda” (Philippines, So Beautiful) amid widespread criticisms that it is bland, ineffective and even copied from Poland.
“As long as I can help the country and our beloved president and the majority, why not?” Pacquiao said.
Pacquiao visited Aquino shortly after he arrived in Manila on Saturday morning to another hero’s welcome from the US where he gained his unprecedented eighth boxing championship belt.
Pacquiao, also a congressman from Sarangani province in Mindanao, pummelled Mexican brawler Antonio Margarito to submission to capture the World Boxing Council super welterweight title in non-stop bout at the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas on Nov.14.
Aquino said he was grateful to hear from concerned sectors in the tourism industry that they want Pacquiao as their poster boy.
He said it would be good to share the Philippines history with the world and “how beautiful, rich and focused on where it should go” the country is right now.
“From somebody who had nothing and is now in the pinnacle of success, he should be admired, followed and emulated,” the president said referring to Pacquiao.
Aquino scrapped the “Pilipinas Kay Ganda” slogan less than a week after it was officially launched.