SEATTLE — It is not uncommon to see celebrities and athletes donating their earnings to a charity. In the case of Manny Pacquiao, he decided to spread his goodwill by providing shelter for those who need it most in his native land.
World champion boxer and Philippines senator Manny Pacquiao has revealed that he has been spending his earnings from his illustrious career on building homes for the poor of his homeland. Pacquiao has been buying hectares of land, building two-bedroom houses in Sarangani and General Santos City and giving them to the poor for free.
According to Pacquiao, this remarkable act of generosity has benefitted thousands of people. The apartments in question are made out of concrete and have kitchens, electricity and water connections. The housing program continues to be in effect, but Pacquiao has yet to decide where to set up the next sites. Currently, Pacquiao is has set his sights on either Laguna or Batangas, but neither has been confirmed.
“I’m so happy giving these houses free to my constituents in the Sarangani Province from my own pocket – more than [one] thousand families are the beneficiaries,” he posted on Facebook.
Apparently, Pacquiao said he did not initially announce his plans to the public because it is not in his nature to brag about his humanitarian efforts. “Give thanks to God for what you have received today. It’s a gift from Him,” said Pacquiao. “He’s just using me to help you. Take good care of this property and don’t sell it.”
In 2015, Pacquiao faced boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. in what was dubbed the “Fight of the Century”. Although Pacquiao lost the fight, he received more than $100 million, most of which was used to fund his housing program.
Born into poverty, Pacquiao understands the struggles that many people face on a daily basis. After the fight with Mayweather, Pacquiao felt inspired to give back to his hometown. “I will never forget where I came from. I thank God for allowing me to help other people,” he wrote on Twitter.
Pacquiao’s generosity comes at an opportune time for those benefitting from the program. According to official government statistics, in early 2015, around 26 million Filipinos were poor, 12 million of whom were considered to be living in extreme poverty. In a country of around 103 million people, the amount living in poverty is quite substantial.
As admirable as Pacquiao’s philanthropic efforts are, they are nothing new. In 2015, Forbes Asia recognized Manny Pacquiao as one of the “Heroes of Philanthropy,” a list that compiles the most generous and noteworthy donors in Asia.
As of 2015, Pacquiao’s foundation gave more than 200 scholarships and more than $400,000 in medical assistance to those in need. Moreover, the boxing legend also spends an additional $400,000 per year to cover college costs for more than 1,000 students.
Helping those who cannot help themselves seems like a sentiment that many should follow, but few do. As Manny Pacquiao continues to provide for the less fortunate, one can hope that other celebrities or people in positions of power can follow in his footstep.
– Brandon Cerda