When he announced his retirement from boxing a month ago, Filipino sports hero Sen. Manny Pacquiao can readily lay claim as one of the most accomplished and highly successful fighters of all time.
Collecting a total of 12 major world titles in his illustrious career that spanned for 26 years, Pacquiao wrote history many times. He’s the first and only boxer to seize eight world crowns in eight weight divisions, reign as world champion across four decades, and capture lineal championship in five different weight categories.
A future Hall of Famer, Pacquiao’s legacy is already secured and has been cemented in sports. He has left an indelible imprint in the squared circle that is impossible to surpass nor even matched. It is truly something to be remembered for generations to come.
Now, Pacquiao yearns to duplicate his ring greatness into a much tougher battle in the political arena with eyes set on the highest office of the land.
“God raised me from nothing to something for a purpose. Pangarap ko na mag-champion din ako ng eight divisions sa public service. Basta para sa mga kababayan ko, wala akong laban na aatrasan,” said Pacquiao in September when he formally took his oath as president of Promdi (Probinsya Muna Development Initiative).
Pacquiao, who will turn 43 on Dec. 17, is running for President of the Philippines under Promdi, a Cebu-based national political party founded by the late Cebu Gov. Emilio Mario “Lito” Osmeña in 1997.
And Pacquiao’s difficult fight has just begun.
Among the main issues thrown against Pacquiao is his lack of education.
Highly-esteemed Cebuano businessman and sportsman Lorenzo “Chao” Sy, who is among Pacquiao’s staunchest and most diehard supporters from the very beginning, quickly debunked Pacquiao’s rivals and detractors in that aspect.
“Dili mana sala ni Manny nga wala siya maka-eskuyla sa sayong bahin sa iyang kinabuhi tungod sa ilang kapobrehon (His lack of education early in his life is not Pacquiao’s fault because of poverty),” said Chao Sy. “Ang labing importante mao nga naningkamot ug nagpursige siya aron makab-ot ang kalamposan nga iyang natagamtaman karon (The most important thing is that he struggled and persevered to achieve the kind of success he enjoyed right now).”
Indeed, Pacquiao has captivated of hearts of millions not only with his exceptional fighting skills but also with his inspiring rags-to-riches story that transformed him into a global superstar.
From a relatively unknown fighter who once lived on the streets and earned a living as a construction worker and street vendor, Pacquiao rose to phenomenal fame and fortune. More than that, he became a national treasure to his beloved homeland.
By any measure, Pacquiao has attained success more than the educational field can offer through his benevolence and acts of kindness as a civil servant. He was conferred with Doctorate of Humanities (Honoris Causa) by Cebu’s Southwestern University (SWU-Phinma) not only for his accomplishments inside the ring but also for his humanitarian efforts.
As what he proclaimed during his impassioned speech titled “Dreams Do Come True” at the prestigious Oxford University in 2018, Pacquiao humbly said he’s a graduate of the “Open Univesity of Life.”
“My education, certainly non-traditional, non-formal, largely unconstructed. I will call it my education in the Open University of Life,” said Pacquiao. “I am philosophically rooted in my personal adversities, which morally bind me to the general struggle of our people.”
For Chao Sy, that is Pacquiao’s greatest wealth, the crown jewel of his being.
“Maka-relate kaayo ko ni Manny gumikan kay pareho mi og estorya sa kinabuhi kay ang amo pamilya gikan sab sa kawad-on. Mao nang todo suporta ko niya, ako itaya tanan kay pareho mi og kasingkasing para sa masa ug niadtong mga hinikawan sa maayong palad (I can relate well with Manny because we have exactly the same life story as our family also started from nothing. That is the reason why I fully supported and I’m all-in for him knowing that we both care and have a heart for the masses and the less fortunate ones,” said Chao Sy.
“They keep on saying that Pacquiao lacks education.The truth is Pacquiao is highly educated– from the heart– in the service of the poor and downtrodden. His heart goes to those who have less in life because he understands their plight. For me, Pacquiao is not only a man of integrity, but also a man of destiny–destined to serve the humanity.”
They keep on saying that Pacquiao lacks education.The truth is Pacquiao is highly educated– from the heart– in the service of the poor and downtrodden.Lorenzo Chao Sy on Manny Pacquiao
“This is a degree in life that cannot be taught by any great professor nor obtained from any top university in the world. It’s something that can truly make Pacquiao a great president of the Philippines if given a chance by his countrymen with God’s grace in the upcoming May 2022 elections,” Chao Sy concluded.