Wanting to help

AND with that, boxing legend and Sen. Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao, the champ mentioned in same breath as Muhammad Ali, apologized to his worldwide fans for not winning the Pacquiao-Ugás fight. He said thanks several times in all his post-fight interviews. What Manny has done in boxing is truly a mark of a sportsman. Pacquiao, likewise, thanked Ugás and his team. His record stands at 72 fights, 62 wins and 8 losses.

This article was originally published in The Manila Times on Aug. 24 2021

Clearly, the sportsman in him made him carry the fight despite his age at 42 years old and the tightness in his movements from the legs to the lateral moves he was known for throughout his career.

Fueled by mind and heart, the fighter in the ring and the fighter in real life have shown to all his grace in defeat and in victory. Pacquiao has left a legacy in the boxing world, putting the Philippines on the map, and waving the flag in every battle in his stellar career. Pacquiao has been an inspiration to all. Boxing aficionados though have been one in saying they would want Pacquiao to retire on top. With Pacquiao's passion for the sport, keeping on fighting may have to be studied seriously because he might just be up against Father Time.

Pacquiao is the only eight-division world champion in the history of boxing and has won 12 major titles. He was the first boxer to win the lineal championship in five different weight classes, the first boxer to win major world titles on four of the eight "glamor divisions": flyweight, featherweight, lightweight and welterweight and is the only boxer to hold world championships across four decades (1992, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s).

Through boxing, Pacman was able to lift his family (parents and siblings) from poverty and nurtured his kids to be God-fearing individuals and helped others by his winnings. His was money not from oligarchs or corrupt activities. Pacquiao was blood, sweat and tears literally. Filipinos care for him, fight for him, and stand by him in all his years as a boxer.

Wanting to help more, he decided to run as representative of the first district of South Cotabato in 2007. Pacquiao lost and his opponent said, "More than anything, I think, people weren't prepared to lose him as their boxing icon." He later ran for representative of Sarangani, his wife's home province, in 2010. By 2016, Pacquiao had set his eyes on the Senate, carefully distinguishing between politician and public servant.

Before leaving for his fight, Pacquiao was entangled in the PDP-Laban intramurals and while already in the US, he was unseated as the party's president and the political jabs he got were straight cuts that showed his weaknesses: technical work, policy review, diligence to study an issue and read through the voluminous documents, defining his vision and crafting the mission and standing on issues he believes to be the defining causes to push for.

But unlike some other raw candidates, with Pacquiao you get a straight shooter, not a pretender. Pacquiao is authentic. He is popular but he does not see his popularity as the infamous timing for presidential politics. That popularity is already 51 percent of the work. And there are people who will whisper to the ear of a raw leader, believing what these people say is gospel truth, increasing ambition in the amygdala instead of being rational.

Pacquiao wanting to help is often the problem of individuals coming from the slums. By default, they will focus on the mantra that those who have less in life should have more in law, as if we are able to respond to poverty only by responding to this particular class. But we know cutting the poverty threshold from 22 percent to 17 percent from 2016 to 2019 was not an easy task and with the pandemic, the target of 14 percent by the end of the Duterte administration cannot be achieved

Is wanting to help enough a catalyst for a Pacquiao for president launch? Can a national icon rise above the mudslinging and the negative operations that come with territory? Pacquiao's personal narrative is reflective of the so-called rags to riches story. He rose from the trenches and used his skill to get his family out of the rut. Would throwing his own money into the political arena be a wise move because he wants to help Filipinos? By doing so, he breaks Mindanao and soils his crown. Can he master the language of politics, or can he remain the Pacquaio of old, talking straight using the language of the masses? Can he build a team of technocrats that can help him craft his vision and assist him in governance where attendance is a most basic requirement to move policies, programs, plans and activities?

 

Can Pacquiao be viewed by Filipinos who worship him worthy of the throne by the Pasig? Can he continue what is good in the Duterte administration and build on its weaknesses? After nine years in the political public glare, has Pacquaio realized who his real friends are, and will he continue with the very traditional approach to politics - dole-outs and giving out cash? They say "sports and politics don't mix." But others see it as "politics is a contact sport." And as the Pacquiao said, "that's boxing."

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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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