Manny Pacquiao, now the undisputed wonder of the boxing world, should start fighting every day. According to this report from USA Today, the crime rate in the Philippines during his fight versus Oscar De La Hoya was virtually nil.
What do you say, Manny? If you really want to make a change, instead of running for Congress or public office, just fight every day. But I'm not sure you'll do that. You'll probably come home to a ticker tape parade, be bestowed with more accolades, record more "Pacman" audio CDs, and enter into more advertising, licensing, and franchising deals, which will no doubt plaster your mug around Manila's crowded city highways on giant, monstrous billboards (by the way, do those painkillers really work?). Which is fine. After all, you deserve it. You won the fight. You made the Filipino nation proud. What's the problem with making a few bucks while uplifting the dignity of one of the poorest third world nations?
I just hope one day when you wake up years from now, after all the Champagne is sipped, all the giant, sprawling advertising billboards in the Philippine metropolis bearing your name and a product are long gone, your CD and DVD sales all spent, and your youthful energy exhausted, you will realize the potential you had to effect real change.
The Filipino nation, tired of hearing bad news of corruption and governmental scandals, is literally at your command. The irony here is not wasted on some like me: with good news of your continuous wins, the newspapers choose to flash you on their front pages instead of any of the grim, real news. Why don't you start speaking about the real truth?
You, of all people, the Filipino people's champion, have the mandate to do this: born into a world of poverty, through hard work, discipline, and divine providence, you have captured a world boxing championship crown and won more respect than any "elected" official of the Filipino nation. These people who afford you this respect are the very people suffering today as a result of the corrupt and unfair practices (which I'm sure you suffered from during your difficult rise to the top) of the Filipino government and commerce — who, oops, also happen to be, by the way, your prime sponsors and backers.
To say that your victory is a victory for the Philippines is a fallacy, borne of flawed logic, allowing government officials to effectively sweep more corruption-related problems and scandals under an already overcrowded and dirty carpet.
This victory is yours, and yours alone. You can offer the victory to the Philippines, but it is not theirs. Cherish it, do not abuse it. Honor your fallen fellow boxer and countryman Rolando Navarette. And while there is still time, use your power wisely. If you are not afraid to step into the ring with deadly prizefighters, at the risk of shedding blood and feeling enormous pain, surely, then you should not be afraid of using your celebrity as a starting point in taking on other deadly fighters (of the economic and political kind).
After all, we've heard more outrageous stories: A housewife with minimal knowledge of her nation's politics, whose husband was murdered by a tyrannical President, led a bloodless revolution and became its first woman President. Her name was Corazon Aquino.