MANILA No less than President Rodrigo Duterte will cheer for Filipino boxing icon Senator Manny Pacquiao when he steps into the boxing ring against Argentine Lucas Matthysse in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 15.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Tuesday confirmed that Duterte will watch the Pacquiao-Matthysse title fight before his meeting with newly-elected Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad on July 16.
Roque said before a phone conversation between Duterte and Mahathir on Monday night, Duterte has already planned a private trip to Kuala Lumpur to watch Pacquiao's fight.
But when he and Prime Minister Mahathir talked, they set a date that since the fight is (July) 15, the meeting between the President and Mahathir will be (July) 16, he said in a press briefing in Indang, Cavite.
Roque said Mahathir wanted to discuss with Duterte the issues of insurgency and ISIS in the Southeast Asian region.
Duterte has also congratulated the 92-year-old Mahathir for his resounding victory in the May elections, according to a Presidential News Desk report.
It added that Duterte has assured the Malaysian leader that the Philippines will remain a staunch ally of Malaysia in the area of security, particularly in tackling Islamic extremism and piracy in the high seas.
At the same time, the President invited its neighbor to revive the joint consultative meeting to build a platform for advancing relations and discuss pending agreements and other possible collaboration.
Duterte also thanked the Malaysian Prime Minister for taking care of Filipinos in Malaysia.
Asked if any government official would travel with the President, Roque said, I'm sure there will be one who will join him.
I will also join to give media briefing on the meeting between Prime Minister Mahathir and the President, Roque said.
I'm not sure if I can watch the boxing match because until now Senator Pacquiao has not informed if there is still available ticket, he added.
Pacquiao and Matthysse will fight it out for the World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title at the 16,000-seater Axiata Arena. (PNA)
Source: Philippine News Agency