Senator Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao delivers in Senate, too
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - December 25, 2017 - 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — It’s not easy juggling roles as a Senator and professional boxer but somehow, Manny Pacquiao has come across as a proficient time manager in both capacities.

Since his election to a first term as Congressman in 2010, Pacquiao has compiled a professional boxing record of 8-4 and captured the WBC superwelterweight crown and the WBO welterweight title twice. It was during his two terms as Congressman and his first term as Senator that Pacquiao achieved the historic feat of becoming the only fighter ever to win world championships in eight weight divisions. It was also during the period that Pacquiao earned his biggest purse, estimated to be at least $120 million, when he battled Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas in 2015. Among his victims in that stretch were Antonio Margarito, Sugar Shane Mosley, Juan Manuel Marquez, Tim Bradley twice and Jessie Vargas.

Pacquiao won back-to-back terms in Congress from 2010 to 2016 then was elected as Senator in 2016 to serve until 2022 with a mandate of over 16 million votes. In his first 1 1/2 years in the Senate, Pacquiao filed 36 quality bills, one of which was passed into law as RA 10929 or the Free Internet Access in Public Places Act. He played a pivotal role in the increase in tobacco tax in the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion Law.  Of the 10 Senate bills approved by the President, six were of the Senators’ initiative and Pacquiao was credited for one.

Pending passage into law are Pacquiao’s bills stipulating rights of migrant workers as overseas employees, protecting women in the workforce, abolishing the Road Board to eliminate a redundant layer of bureaucracy, restoring mandatory military training for Grade 11 and 12 students, expanding the authority of the PSC and creating the Philippine Boxing Commission to set a new course for the development of the sport with short, medium and long-term measures to benefit professional boxers.

In a statement, Pacquiao said he will continue to file bills that aim to uplift the status of the common people. Pacquiao serves as Senate chairman of the Committees on Public Works and Sports and is set to head the sub-committee on Education, Arts and Culture. Beyond his legislative functions, Pacquiao remains active in his fight against poverty through educational, livelihood, health and socio-civic initiatives, including the provision of fishing boats to fisherfolk through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, medical facilities and hundreds of scholarships.  

Last July, Pacquiao travelled to Brisbane to stake his WBO welterweight belt against Jeff Horn. He nearly stopped Horn in the ninth round but couldn’t finish off the Australian who roughhoused his way to a disputed win on points. Boxing experts condemned the verdict as ludicrous and chastised referee Mark Nelson for tolerating Horn’s underhanded tactics. Pacquiao tried to lure Horn into accepting a rematch in Manila with a $3 million offer but the Australian opted instead to defend the crown against Englishman Gary Corcoran for a $750,000 purse.

Pacquiao has hinted that his ring career isn’t over and with his widespread popularity in China, it’s likely he’ll stage a comeback in the Mainland next year. Pacquiao visited China thrice this year and in one visit, put up a Las Vegas-style, nine-bout international boxing card in Beijing before a by-invitation-only audience of 500 VIPs. The rumor is Pacquiao will fight in China in April, with IBF superflyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas in the undercard. The target is Horn so Pacquiao gets a chance to regain the title. 

It’s no secret that Pacquiao intends to end his boxing career with a fight at the 55,000-seat Philippine Arena as a gesture of thanks to his countrymen and a tribute to his roots. Pacquiao will never forget his humble beginnings and his story from rags to riches is an inspiration to everyone from all walks of life around the world.

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