Pacquiao and University Town

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Two contrasting columns, appearing side-by-side, in the issue of the MetroPost last Sunday, provided an insight into how University Town treats the sport of boxing on one hand, and on the other, the “8th Wonder of the World”, Congressman Dr. Emmanuel Dapidran Pacquiao, aka “Pacman” and “Pambansang Kamao.”

Dr. Pacquiao was bestowed an honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities by the Southwestern University in Cebu in Feb 18, 2009, and last August 26, 2010, he was a special guest of the Silliman University College of Law.

Coincidentally, in the Aug 22, 2010 issue of the MetroPost, a news item reported that SU is offering boxing in its Physical Education program. A picture accompanying the news item showed coeds fitted with boxing gloves. I think that SU holds the distinction of being the first academic institution in the Philippines to formally include women’s boxing in its PE program.

Noting this development in our University Town, I wrote in this column, dated Sept 5, 2010, titled “Women’s boxing trivia” that “Cuba (which) has the best amateur boxing program in world…have announced that it will not field a women’s team in the 2012 Olympic Games because the sport is not appropriate for women…and that a leading sports official said that ‘Cuban women are made for beauty and not to take blows around the head’”.

Going back to the two columns in the MetroPost, one was titled “Enjoying brutality” by Cecilia Hofmann and the other, “2011 national budget and Manny Pacquiao” by Atty. Whelma Siton-Yap.

Cecilia pointed out similar information which I have written about in my past columns in the MetroPost, about the need to ban boxing because “in boxing, the very intention is to physically overpower, to hurt, to incapacitate, and if possible to knock out or render the opponent unconscious” wrote Cecilia, or ‘to inflict corporal damage to the opponent…” is immoral, the Vatican proclaimed…”No sporting discipline nor any kind of ‘show’ can be accepted by a civic conscience if it endangers human life…Much worthier causes call for putting lives at stake,” the Vatican’s newspaper, the L’Osseervatore Romano, editorialized.

An an ABS-CBN report dated Nov 23, 2010, Pacquio’s mother, “Mommy Dionisia has consistently been asking Pacquiao, to leave the sport while he is still healthy…Even Pacquiao’s wife, Jinkee, is afraid that her husband will suffer the same fate that befell other boxers. Here are quotes from an interview with Jinkee: “Si Manny after the fight, hindi mo mahawakan iyung ulo niya… namamaga… Kapag umiihi siya, parang kulay dugo. Hindi na yellow. Minsan, itim pa. Every time, after the fight, ganoon ang kulay, kapag umiihi siya. Kasi tinatamaan daw iyung kidney…’

Cecilia felt sad that a well-known columnist, in a “moment of (Pacquio’s) victory…heap on the adjectives and go delirious about feeling good to be alive, good to be Filipino, believe the Filipino can eradicate poverty…glorious, spectacular, magical (moment),” when to her, “it was merely sad, primitive, immature, violent, brutal.”

Whelma is a die-hard fan of Manny Pacquiao. This is apparent in her column in the MetroPost dated August 29, 2010, titled: “Del Carmen vs. Pacquiao.” Wrote she: “Cong Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao was a giant among the legal Eagles…His life story is inspiring and known the world over…But Manny is like a lawyer with his fists, bringing honor and glory to his country with each fight.”

In her column last Sunday, Whelma wrote: “The 2011 National Budget was passed by Congress in record time so people started talking that there has to be a catch! Many surmised that the reason was the Pacquiao-Margarito fight; many congressmen were given free tickets to the ringside…indeed, watching Manny performing…transports us to the ringside, and we feel every punch, experience vicarious exhilaration, sharing reactions with many significant others… It gives us a feeling of community–being one as a people with the same hopes and dreams…”

“However thrilled and jubilant the general population…are at every Manny Pacquiao victory, I belong to the camp that does not rejoice,” asserts Cecilia.

In an email to me, Cecillia proposes that Foundation University organizes a forum to discuss the pros and cons of boxing. We will look into the merits of this proposal. One of those that we would certainly invite will be the DepEd people who support the inclusion of boxing in the Palarong Pambansa.

The British Medical Association and the American Medical Association strongly recommend the banning of both amateur and professional boxing for health and medical reasons. The AMA claims that children boxing as practiced in the Palaro is a form of child abuse.

Dr. George Lundberg, the editor of the Journal of AMA said: “It is (child) abuse, pure and simple…It is predictable damage, and it involves children. And if adult promote, for their own pleasure, children bashing each other, hurting each other, then this makes a pretty good case for child abuse.”

I hope DepEd Superintendents Profetiza Lim and Milagros Velez will take note of this.

I find the contrast in the treatment of boxing by Cecilia and Whelma in their respective columns an excellent opportunity for us in University Town to participate in an enlightened discussion of a sport that someone observed is an offshoot of the Filipinos love for the sabung.

So let’s have one in the form of a forum–without the violent ending for anyone or both of the contending sides. Will Cecilia and Whelma join me in organizing a forum on the topic: “Boxing should be banned in University Town.”

(Back to MetroPost HOME PAGE)

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