The other day I came across what I thought was a pretty poignant tweet coming from one of the humour Tweetizens I follow. It went something like this: Our boys in helmets who fight our battles halfway around the world should be paid more than the boys in helmets who pass around a ball in a little field just around the corner. Something like that. That tweet was presumably in reference to American pro footballers who, like their fighting men half a world away, also walk into a “battlefield” suited up in armour.
Back in the Philippines, a similar “hero” is going to be welcomed home by cheering fans and a salivating media. Manny Pacquiao who, in the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez, was defeated in a knockout punch on the sixth round is coming “home”. Rappler.com reporter Natashya Gutierrez who as of early this morning was presumably part of the waiting throng at the airport tweeted, “Good morning! To whoever is awake at this hour, any questions for Manny Pacquiao? He’ll be taking questions upon arrival.” To which I responded:
@natashya_g Here’s one: What are the champ’s thoughts on being away while his fellow islanders were battered by #pabloph ?
I recall a few days back how some people reacted quite harshly upon learning how some lawmakers were planning trips to Las Vegas to watch the boxing match…
Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said that they issued 16 travel authorities with the US as destination.
â€œAll are travelling at their own expense. Several of them were still here yesterday (Wednesday) so Iâ€™m not sure all left,â€ he said in a text message.
Manila Representative Amado Bagatsing, chairman of the House committee on games and amusement, said that the lawmakers have scheduled to fly for the US within the week for the Saturday bout between Pacquiao and Marquez. He refused to name the lawmakers who will be watching the fight live.
And then it suddenly occurred to me: Isn’t Manny Pacquiao himself a Philippine Congressman? Now in the aftermath of his “stunning” defeat we reflect a bit and ask ourselves: Was all of that really that important in the scheme of things? No less than Conrado “Noynoy is Aragrorn” de Quiros himself lamented, “‘Plakda,’ I kept hearing all over the place from Pinoys. The state to which Pacquiao had been sent, the state to which the Pinoy had been sent. Depressed, deflated, wiped out.” Pardon my brief lapse from the real world but perhaps it was, after all, that important to Filipinos.
I don’t really know what to say to that but at least Manny was lying flat on his face in Las Vegas before a world audience and before an entire nation “mourning” his plight. Meanwhile, NBC News reported a “boatload of coffins” was on its way to the Philippines’ southern island of Mindanao where Pacquiao grew up.
[Photo courtesy NBC News.]
To reawaken Filipinos back to their reality we might refer to a recent Al Jazeera report on what is going on in Mindanao…
Death toll: 714 and counting
Missing people: 890
Fishermen missing at sea: 313
Aid sought by UN globally: $65m
People displaced: 480,000
Homes destroyed: 115,000
Highlighting the “unprecedented scale” of this humanitarian disaster unfolding, the report noted that “at least 5.4 million people desperately need food and water.”
Where was Philippine Congressman Manny Pacquiao as all this transpired?
Oh yeah. Halfway around the planet in Las Vegas fighting for “Pinoy Pride.”
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