Cebu priest includes prayer for Pacquiao in Masses

11/17/2010 - CEBU CITY, Philippines – An official of the archdiocese of Cebu is asking the faithful to storm Heaven with prayers for the victory of pound-for-pound boxing icon Manny Pacquiao in his quest for his eighth title when he fights Antonio Margarito of Mexico on Sunday in Texas.

Monsignor Esteban Binghay, the archdiocese’s episcopal vicar, said he even included in the Masses he officiated on Saturday and the Mass he would celebrate on Sunday morning a special prayer that Pacquiao win the bout.

“Manny’s victory will also be our victory,” he said in an interview Saturday.

As early as Friday, many Visayans had planned where they would watch the live screening of the Pacquiao-Margarito fight, either for free in gymnasiums or public places where local government officials were to set up giant screens, or in restaurants and bars that charge some fees, or on pay-per-view television.

In Cebu City, the 10,000-capacity Cebu Coliseum is offering a live screening for P240 ringside, P180 lower box, P130 upper box and P65 general admission.

SM Cebu opened two cinemas (7 and 8) for P500. According to its staff, Cinema 7, which has over 1,000 seats, was fully-booked.

Restaurants and hotels also offered live screening on wide-screen television at rates ranging from P250 to P500, depending on their promos, like offering free lunch, beer or soft drinks.

Some barangay (village) councils also offer free live screening at their sports complexes, according to Cebu City Councilor Raul Alcoseba, a sports enthusiast.

Alcoseba said the villages that arranged for free live screenings were exempted from paying amusement taxes.

Skycable also offers pay-per-view to its subscribers for P1,499. As of Saturday, Skycable said over 4,000 subscribers had signed up to watch the pay-per view Pacquaio-Margarito fight.

The Cebu City Police Office, meanwhile, has decided to deploy policemen in areas where live screenings were to be made to secure the people.

Betting is also common, according to Cebu Coliseum manager Ben Tulda, with wagers on Pacquiao reaching up to P5 million.

Tulda said before Wakee Salud left for the United States to join Pacquaio’s entourage, the boxing promoter offered a P5 million bet on Pacquiao’s victory but no one took him on.

In Maasin City in Southern Leyte, aside from free viewing at the city gymnasium courtesy of the provincial and city governments, almost all major restaurants are offering live screening of the fight.

Pay-per-view showing at restaurants is pegged at P100-P200 with free beer or a soft drink.

As in Pacquiao’s previous fights, Southern Leyte├▒os were expected to stay glued to their television sets at home, in gyms or in restaurants, leaving the streets clear of traffic.

Betting odds in Maasin City was 60-40 in favor of Pacquiao.
(Inquirer)

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