Donaire overwhelmed by Greg Secker
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - January 9, 2018 - 12:00am

It’s not easy to overwhelm former world boxing champion Nonito Donaire Jr. because nothing fazes him in the ring. He’s won world titles in five weight classes and battled some of the most ferocious punchers in history like Vic Darchinyan, Fernando Montiel, Jorge Arce and Nicholas Walters.

But last Friday, Donaire wasn’t just overwhelmed by English philanthropist Greg Secker’s display of generosity, sincerity and concern. He was knocked off his feet. Secker invited Donaire to witness the turnover of 100 homes that he financed for displaced typhoon victims in Capinahan, Lemery, Iloilo. Secker flew in from London with his partner, three children, parents, friends and business associates for the ceremony. There must have been at least 60 in the Secker traveling party that came from the UK and Australia.

Secker, 42, studied agricultural and food sciences at the University of Nottingham. He gained a reputation as a financial genius, developing foreign exchange trading systems with an on-line platform that led to receiving the British Telecom Award for innovation in e-commerce in 1998. At 25, Secker was appointed vice president at Mellon Financial and later retired to set up a trading floor in his living room. In 2010, he established the Greg Secker Foundation “to positively improve the quality of life of people around the world.” Last year, Secker was named to the list of 200 most influential philanthropists and social entrepreneurs in the world.

When Typhoon Yolanda struck Iloilo in 2013, Secker came to the rescue of victims who lost their homes. His Filipina cook Rosario Sanico’s family in Lemery was severely affected by the calamity.

Donaire received an invitation from Secker to attend the turnover event through a common Filipino friend. He flew to Manila with wife Rachel last Wednesday morning then took a flight to Iloilo on Thursday night. Donaire met Secker for the first time at the Richmonde Hotel in Iloilo City last Friday morning. Then, they went to Lemery by helicopter. Two choppers were arranged to transport Secker’s party to the turnover site.

“Greg’s an amazing guy, an incredible person,” said Donaire. “When the typhoon hit Iloilo in 2013, his cook Rosario who lives with his family in London went back home to check on the damage. Rosario was distraught. She returned to London and Greg found her to be out of it. He asked what he could do to help her. Apparently, Rosario’s family owns a big tract of virgin land in Lemery so Greg offered to build 100 homes in her property for the homeless victims. That was phase one of his program. Phase two involves creating sustainability for the families in the village, providing alternatives for livelihood and empowering people to develop and learn.”

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