Bunny Rabbit locks it in

Pacquiao is the Philippines’ pride. Apart from Pacman, PRRD is also a bunny rabbit. He keeps going and going and going. Despite all the insults and lack of appreciation of the things he has done in the past three years, he just keeps on bouncing and moving, which should be the right attitude since there is much work to be done.  

It’s funny how Keith “One Time” Thurman called our Pambansang Kamao Bunny Rabbit during the pre-fight interviews. Alluding to Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao, Thurman said, “this little Bunny Rabbit, the way he hops around on the ring…I’m not going to lose to some Bunny Rabbit…” And the super welterweight WBA champion, with a record of 29-0 wins and 22 KOs, found out that the Bunny Rabbit indeed locked it in and got away with the fight.

The gracious Pacman merely smiled at the remarks made by Thurman. He did not only prove that he could fight at 40 years old, Pacman showed to all that he still packs mean heavy hands and the wisdom to know when to launch into that patented 1, 2, 3 punch. The speed has not waned. He can take the punches and return them like he was not hit at all. The knockdown of Thurman in the first round was a portent of things to come. It certainly changed the game plan of Thurman and the crunching hit to the body on the tenth round showed to all who remains king of the ring.

Among athletes, retirement comes early because of the wear and tear of any sport. But what makes Pacquiao unique is the drive to remain fit and the discipline to endure a training to prepare for a fight. As the legendary Muhammad Ali said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses — behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

Boxing is a “complex sport with a simple premise: Beat the other man up and either hit him more effectively to win on a point system, or hit him so hard or so much that he can’t continue to fight.” Boxing is definitely not for the faint of heart. It takes a toll on the body and that is why Pacman must see things in the proper perspective that it is time to shift from being a boxer to building a stable of young Filipino boxers who can be trained the Pacman way. The senator from Mindanao can start transferring what he has learned from his legendary career. Spotting a talent is easy but building and honing the skills to become world-class are challenges that only a Pacman can impart to the young ones.

Pacquiao is the Philippines’ pride. He is a national treasure and should be accorded the highest award that can be given to a Filipino. After all, Pacquiao is the only “eight-division world champion in the history of boxing, having won 12 major world titles, as well as being the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes. Pacquiao is also the first boxer in history to win major world titles in four of the eight “glamour divisions” of boxing: flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight.

Pacman has nothing to prove anymore. But coming from nothing and merely using his God-given talent, Pacquiao thinks that he can go more now that the science in sports is becoming more and more cutting-edge. Still, boxing is so physical that the effects can be felt later. We wouldn’t want a Pacman suffering from debilitating issues that are often associated with retired boxers. He has also made the transition to politics after winning a seat in the House of Representatives in 2010 and 2013 and the Senate in 2016. He should concentrate more on his role as a senator in the remaining years before 2022.

Pacquiao will be up for re-election in the Senate come 2022 or he may decide to make the leap of faith and run for the presidency or the vice presidency. Coming from Mindanao, he will surely be a counter candidate in a ticket that can level off another tandem that would come from Mindanao. The island after all has a crucial role in 2022 since anything that is not completed in the island needs to be sustained and completed in the 6 or 12 years of the next administration.

Today, there are 14 names already being floated for the 2022 presidential race. Two scenarios have been defined: Scenario A is a Duterte-led ticket while Scenario B is sustaining a Duterte (a Duterte as the VP). Certainly, it cannot be a ticket composed of both candidates from Mindanao. So, a Duterte cannot be teamed with a Pacquiao. But they can certainly end up winners.

What are the overarching themes in putting together a tandem? Development of Mindanao remains vital; completing the infrastructure program (Build, Build, Build) is essential and sustaining peace and order gains are critical. These boil down to continuity and improvement on what has been achieved by PRRD.

Apart from Pacman, PRRD is also a bunny rabbit. He keeps going and going and going. Despite all the attacks, oust plots, insults and lack of appreciation of the things he has done in the past three years, he just keeps on bouncing and moving, which should be the right attitude since there is much work to be done. His fourth State of the Nation Address would somehow be legacy-defining and setting for the 18th Congress and his team. Lowering the poverty threshold from 21 percent to 14 percent, securing peace dividends and achieving an upper middle-income country would be the giant strides that we will have to take as a nation in the remaining three years of the Duterte administration. We need to lock it in squarely or we will be overtaken by the Greater Mekong sub-region. We cannot just see ourselves as a mere speck in the universe but as shining star that glitters brightly in the night sky. 

Manny Pacquiao is not just brute force. Apart from physical ability, Pacquiao has shown mental ability, mental toughness. You would not be a world-class athlete if you lacking in gray matter. 
Pacquiao shares a common narrative with Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. Nobody can take that away from them and certainly, both have faced poverty in the eye as well as failure. Both fought it out and in their lifetime, got out of the rut by sheer will and God’s guidance. Common sense to them is so common, and that’s basic intelligence. And as has been said, “today, I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” Duterte, Pacquiao and Moreno have shown that they can lock it in. They continue to win against adversaries and adversities.

About the Author
Malou Tiqiua is the Founder/General Manager of PUBLiCUS Asia Inc. A noted political management expert in the Philippines and Asia, she brings over 20 years of professional experience in public, private and the academe combined. Author of the comprehensive book on electoral campaigns in the Philippines, "Campaign Politics", Malou is a graduate of the University of the Philippines with a Political Science degree and a Master of Public Administration. She completed her second master's degree (MA in Political Management) from the Graduate School of Political Management, George Washington University.
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