World icon Manny Pacquiao (above) is slated to meet President Barack Obama next week in Washington.


MANILA — Whatever his future political plans are, the chance to meet U.S. President Barack Obama will definitely serve Manny Pacquiao in good stead.

“This is a huge opportunity for Manny. This is huge for his political career,” said the boxer’s chief adviser Michael Koncz.

Pacquiao, a congressman, left last Wednesday for a four-city, six-day press tour for his May 7 title fight with American Shane Mosley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao will stake his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight title against Mosley.

The super-welterweight crown he won over Antonio Margarito last November has already been vacated by the World Boxing Council (WBC).

There will be stops in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York and Washington where the meeting with Mr. Obama and Sen. Harry Reid, considered the third most powerful politician in the U.S., takes place on Feb. 15.

While Mr. Obama has agreed to welcome Pacquiao, his wife Jinkee and his entourage to the White House, the 39-year-old Mosley will not get the same opportunity.

There’s no word, no other details about the scheduled meeting between two of the world’s most recognizable faces, except that it will only be the Pacquiao couple who will meet the Obamas, including First Lady Michelle Obama.

While people in high places burned the lines making sure the meeting takes place, it did not seem as difficult or as frustrating as when the former Philippine President, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, sought the chance.

“Manny wants to meet President Obama and he wants to meet Manny, too,” Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said a few weeks back.

Pacquiao told ABS-CBN he isn’t sure yet what he’d like to discuss with Mr. Obama, but he said he’d make sure it would touch on his development programs for his province of Sarangani.

Pag-isipan ko sasabihin matulungan ang province ko (I will think about what I’m going to tell help my province),” Pacquiao said in a television interview.

Among his immediate plans for Sarangani is to put up a general hospital starting soon.

He plans to spend P200 million for the project.

Pacquiao, at 32, has a future ahead of him in politics.

The options are wide open, and by the time he gets eligible by age, he can run for senator or even seek the highest office in the land.

Arum has often introduced Pacquiao as “the next President of the Philippines.”

But that may be too far ahead. For the meantime, let Pacquiao enjoy his moment with Mr. Obama.

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