Wednesday, February 17, 2016

JOURNAL | Discourses on Manny Pacquiao's Controversial Statement : A Compendium Culled from Facebook

Manny Pacquiao, a deeply religious man with strong convictions, is entitled to think whatever he wants. And whether you like to hear it or not, he’s entitled to say whatever he thinks. It doesn’t matter that his athletic talent has given him a louder microphone than everyone else... Nike, for its part, is allowed to make value judgments based on those views... when an athlete like Pacquiao decides to thrust polarizing opinions into the public sphere, it presents a new set of circumstances...

That’s what made this all so inevitable. Pacquiao apologized for his comments — except he didn’t really. Standing arms crossed in front of a camera, he uttered a surface-level apology for hurting people’s feelings, not for the actual substance of his comments. Even if his apology was more genuine, it would’ve taken a lot for it to fly with Nike, a proud supporter of the LGBT community in its own right... The reality is they are the vehicle to enact the change people want, and when bigotry like this arises, we should applaud companies who are brave enough to stamp it out.

Luke Kerr-Dineen
Writer & Editor at FTW
Web |


Now that we've all realized there is a god and its name is global capitalism, it's time to confront the larger, monstrously difficult question. The one about whether Pacquiao was right or wrong was easy to answer - but why was it so difficult for our Manny? Why were so many of his younger supporters working-class? It's unsatisfactory to remark "Because they're all uneducated" - because that measure is relative, and we all know "educated" people who're flawed in worse ways - your friendly neighborhood pork-barrelist, for one, and your theologically trained clergyman. Pacquiao spoke as an electoral candidate, and the government system has the key: Philippine culture (including education) has been stranded in the era when it could assume that no one can acquire wealth and leisure, and failed to reckon with the overseas labor phenomenon, where Pacquiao himself managed to earn his money. So when our kabayans seek their fortune, we all assume that it's enough for them to remit their earnings as much and as quickly as possible; culturally, they're left in the hands of whatever interest group gets to them first, and for Manny, that meant an embarrassingly backward version of religious fanaticism. The government should regard this as a wake-up call to address the poverty of scientific, material, and progressive preparations in education and beyond. We the electorate should ask this question of each of our candidates: what is her or his cultural quotient? Because in a sense, Pacquiao has been as much a victim as a victimizer, and for his sake we should ensure that people are ready both for failure and for success.

Joel David
Inha University, South Korea
University of the Philippines
Web |


No, Manny Pacquiao, this isn't about your faith, or what the bible says. You are running for public office, so at least have the courage to own up what you said. Do not hide behind the bible or false compassion, stick your neck out and face the outrage that your statement rightly deserves. When you dehumanise LGBTs and say that we're worse than animals, you are not just expressing your religious beliefs. You are actively taking part in a system that does not recognise LGBTs as equal members of our society. You are actively enabling abuse and violence against LGBTs, which take place precisely because people who are in power like you believe that we are lesser humans, or to borrow your words, worse than animals. You actively contribute to that systemic hatred that imprisons LGBT athletes in their closets, that forces us out of our homes, kicks us out of schools, slams the door of employment in our faces, or denies us of healthcare. Your hatred is no different from the hatred that forces young LGBTs to commit suicide, that makes our community vulnerable to violence.

So no, this isn't about your religious beliefs, Manny Paquiao. This is about your bigotry. Own up, face our outrage, and from one human to another, I hope that one day you realise that no single human being deserves to be treated as if they're worse than animals, and when that day comes, I hope you find the courage to correct your ways.

Jonas Bagas
Program Officer at Apcaso - Strengthening Community Systems Advancing Human Rights 
Asia Pacific  
Web |

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