AFP, PNP remain on red alert during Pacquiao-Marquez bout

November 11, 2011 10:34 pm 

MANILA, Nov. 11 — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) said Friday they will maintain vigilance and enhance security operations while having free live viewings at their respective camps and hospitals of the boxing match between pound-for-pound king Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao and three-division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez on November 13.

AFP and PNP officials said the free live viewing will be held in venues such as the AFP General Headquarters Gym and AFP Grandstand in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City; Headquarters Philippine Air Force (PAF) Gym, Philippine Army (PA) Gymnasium and Grandstand at the PA Headquarters in Taguig City; Philippine Navy (PN) Gymnasium at the PN Headquarters, and Fort Bonifacio General Hospital at the PA Headquarters also in Taguig City.

Sick soldiers who are confined at the AFP Medical Center on V. Luna Street, Diliman, Quezon City and battle-casualties will also have the chance to watch the boxing match at the AFPMC Auditorium.

An estimated 2,000 audience are expected to watch at the GHQ Grandstand. This is composed of military personnel, civilian employees and military dependents. One thousand viewers are expected to watch the boxing match at V. Luna Medical Center.

The PN and PAF both expect 1,000 viewers each. The PA prepared its gym for 3,000 people, while an expected 300 will watch at the Fort Bonifacio General Hospital and 3000 at the PA Grandstand.

“On-duty soldiers will have to skip the live showing, in order to continuously perform our duties of maintaining peace and stability in our country. Even though in the past, there have been low incidence of violence during Pacquiao’s fights, we still have to be vigilant and maintain our strong coordination with the Philippine National Police to ensure peace and stability in the country,” AFP Chief Gen. Eduardo S.L. Oban Jr.

The AFP supports and wishes the triumph of boxing champion and international icon, Manny Pacquiao, he said, adding that Pacquiao's fight has consistently inspired the military to continue to fight for peace and bring honor to the country.

“We wish him all the best for we strongly believe that Pacquiao’s fight is an unyielding symbol of hope significant to all of us who are continuously aspiring for a just and lasting peace for our nation. Manny Pacquiao’s exemplary acts of audacity and boldness in the boxing ring will once again inspire our soldiers to perform their utmost best in winning the peace for the people in a different arena,” Oban said.

AFP public affairs office (PAO) head Col. Arnuldo Burgos said dependents, civilian employees and friends of AFP personnel can also watch for free in the designated venues.

Burgos said Pacquiao is an inspiration for soldiers. “His audacity and boldness displayed in the boxing ring is emulated by our warriors in other fields which is winning the peace for the people,” he said.

PNP spokesman Chief Supt. Agrimero Cruz Jr. said the PNP headquarters in Camp Crame is all suited up for a free screening of the bout for police personnel and employees and their families.

Meanwhile, the PA will open the camp on Sunday, November 13, to allow soldiers and their dependents to watch the fight of Congressman and Army Reservist Lt. Col. Pacquiao against Marquez.

Major Harold M. Cabunoc, Acting Army spokesperson, said wide screens will be set up in four different venues within the Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio for the free viewing of Pacquiao fight.

“It has been a tradition of the Philippine Army to provide the public, the soldiers in particular, the opportunity to watch for free the fight of Manny Pacquiao who serves as inspiration to most of our soldiers being an Army reservist himself,” said Cabunoc.

“We will open the Philippine Army Gym on Sunday for this particular purpose, as well as the Philippine Army Officers Club House and the Grandstand. Likewise, battle-casualties confined at the Army General Hospital would also get to watch the fight for free as screens will also be set up at the hospital’s Multipurpose Hall,” he added.

Thousands are expected to cheer for the People’s Champ on Sunday for this third bout against Marquez.

Newly-installed Army Chief Major General Emmanuel T. Bautista expressed his confidence on Pacman’s ability to once again emerge as the winner in this much-awaited fight.

“Pacquiao has served as an inspiration to our soldiers and the Filipinos in general. This is the reason why I directed my post-unit commanders at the Army Headquarters to provide free viewing of the fight,” said Bautista.

Soldiers around the country who are not on duty and who are not sent on security patrols are expected to glue themselves before TV sets to watch the fight.

Relentless pursuit operations are still underway in various conflict areas of Southern Mindanao against the lawless elements who have eluded the government forces.

Pacquiao recently earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the AFP Reserve Force. It can be recalled that his commissionship drew conflicting reactions from the public, some favoring it and others totally opposed to it.

The AFP, on the other hand, maintained that Pacquiao’s commissionship to Lieutenant Colonel is legitimate because he is qualified pursuant to paragraph 5b, Group VI of Circular Number 4, GHQ AFP dated July 5, 2010, stating that a congressman can be granted a rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the reserve force. (PNA) DCT/FFC/JCA

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