Manny Pacquiao ‘wants to join’ troops fighting ISIS as he makes visit to soldiers in under-siege Marawi City

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MAN OF WAR

Boxing legend, who is also a politician and army reservist, visited camp in Southern Philippines

MANNY PACQUIAO has told soldiers fighting ISIS in the Philippines that he wants “to join you in the fighting”.

The boxing legend, who is also a Filipino politician and army reservist, made a visit to inspire troops who have been fighting an ISIS-backed Islamist insurgency in Marawi City for the last two months.

AFP

Manny Pacquiao made a visit to soldiers battling ISIS in Marawi City, Southern Philippines

The boxing legend turned politician handed out aid to soldiers and joked he would fight alongside them

Instagram/Manny Pacquiao

The boxing legend turned politician handed out aid to soldiers and joked he would fight alongside them

The five-weight world champion visited Camp Ranao in the Southern Philippines where, dressed in military fatigues, he attended a briefing with senior Army officials.

Manawi City, a 90minute flight from capital Manila, has had 400,000 residents displaced as insurgents, flying the black flag of ISIS, have put the city under siege, taking hostages and burning buildings.

The official death toll stands at 630 – 471 insurgents killed, 45 civilians and 114 soldiers.

In a speech to the troops Pacquiao, who is a serving senator in the government, sought to inspire those in camp.

According to Rappler, He joked: “I want to join you in the fighting, would you like that?

“Don’t surrender, because the same as in boxing, we’re in the last three rounds and it’s almost over.”


Pacquiao has been an army reservist since 2006, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel

Instagram/Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao has been an army reservist since 2006, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel

Pacquiao spoke to troops at Camp xxxx

Instagram/Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao spoke to troops at Camp xxxx

The boxing champ took pictures with soldiers

Instagram/Manny Pacquiao

The boxing champ took pictures with soldiers

He also said a prayer for them on Instagram

Instagram/Manny Pacquiao

He also said a prayer for them on Instagram

Pacquiao told soldiers ‘not to give up’ as they were ‘in the last three rounds

Instagram/Manny Pacquiao

Pacquiao told soldiers ‘not to give up’ as they were ‘in the last three rounds

Fighting in the city has taken place for the last two months

AP:Associated Press

Fighting in the city has taken place for the last two months

630 people have been killed – but 400,000 citizens have been displaced

Getty Images – Getty

630 people have been killed – but 400,000 citizens have been displaced

Filipinos have protested against martial law in the city – with critics stating President Duterte is using the crisis as a way to impose authoritarian rule

AFP or licensors

Filipinos have protested against martial law in the city – with critics stating President Duterte is using the crisis as a way to impose authoritarian rule

With 400,000 citizens displaced, conditions in the country have come under an international microscope.

Those evacuated have reported terrible conditions in their temporary accommodation, while the extension of martial law in the city has attracted criticism in the international community.

President Rodrigo Duterte has been accused of using the crisis as a way to impose greater authoritarian rule in the country.

Humble Manny Pacquiao hands out cash to crowds of local Filipinos following his shock defeat to ex-schoolteacher Jeff Horn

A Filipino soldier sits in his bullet-ridden position

AFP or licensors

A Filipino soldier sits in his bullet-ridden position

Children stand near a police shield and body armour in the city

Getty Images – Getty

Children stand near a police shield and body armour in the city

Soldiers stand on the corner of a road

AFP or licensors

Soldiers stand on the corner of a road

He took time to hand out aid to the soldiers, as well as chat with them and take pictures.

Pacquiao added: “You are the real heroes, not Manny Pacquiao.

“I am just a boxer but you give your lives for our country.”

He later posted a prayer for the soldiers on social media: “Lord God, our Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus, we pray that you bless and protect our troops who are fighting in Marawi for our freedom.

“We pray that you give wisdom to those leading our troops and give each one of our soldiers courage as they fight in battle.

“We thank you for their sacrifice for our country.

“These men are the real heroes and we pray that you will shower your blessings upon them and their families.

“We thank you for our great country. Amen!”

A bombed building in the city

EPA

A bombed building in the city

A soldier checks inside a building

Reuters

A soldier checks inside a building

The 38-year-old star remains one of the Philippines favourite sons.

He was made a lieutenant colonel in the army reserves, having first joined the force in 2006.

Pacquiao is yet to comment on his future in boxing, but the ageing star lost his welterweight title to Australian Jeff Horn in a major upset last month.


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