MANILA, Philippines - Pro-life advocates might have found a new poster boy in world boxing champion and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao, who expressed opposition to the controversial Reproductive Health (RH) bill and suggested abstinence as a means of family planning.
“I’m against the RH Bill because I have many siblings,” Pacquiao said yesterday in a press conference at the House of Representatives in Quezon City when asked about his stance on the controversial population control measure. “And also on condoms, I’m not in favor of it.”
Seated beside Pacquiao during the press briefing was Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., who earlier reiterated his commitment to have the bill reach voting in the plenary.
Pacquiao has two sisters and four brothers and has four children – Emmanuel Jr., Michael, Princess, and Queen Elizabeth.
“We have our own respective beliefs. We have differing beliefs. I believe that there is nothing in the Bible that says that we limit the number of our children,” Pacquiao said.
“In the first place, the Lord said: ‘Go to the world and multiply’ and not ‘go to the world and have two kids’,” he said.
He said couples should undergo orientation on how to plan a family that could entail abstinence to limit the number of children.
“We sometimes need to make sacrifices like: ‘Darling, not tonight because you’re fertile so we sacrifice in the meantime’,” Pacquiao said, eliciting laughter from journalists.
“You guys must also learn to sacrifice, abstain. But hey, the girls sometimes are the ones making advances,” he said.
He said he supports the bill filed by Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez and co-authored by former president and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo seeking to protect the rights of the unborn child.
Pacquiao reported for work at the House of Representatives for the first time after arriving in the country last Saturday from Texas after defeating Mexican fighter Antonio Margarito.
“I want to be a champion public servant,” he said prior to being conferred the Congressional Medal of Distinction by Speaker Belmonte at the session hall in the afternoon.
“I’m taking a break from boxing and I’ll focus now on my job as a congressman,” he said in Filipino.
After the briefing, he proceeded to the session hall where he was given a red carpet welcome with cheering House employees lining the path and waving the Philippine flag.
“We honor our colleague today, not only what he has achieved but for what his victories signify for our country… He has showed us that he is a man of strong faith, which has carried him through every adversity, and he has never ceased to return that gratitude to our God despite the many peaks he has already achieved in his life,” Belmonte said.
He said Pacquiao has reminded “us of our role to utilize our skills as leaders of government and inspire and instill basic values in our people, especially the youth who will inherit this nation and become our future leaders.”
“His achievements prove that with determination, discipline and focus, greatness is within reach of anybody who perseveres through hard work, an accomplishment that should inspire and be emulated by the youth of the Philippines and around the world,” the congressional citation stated.
“This victory is not mine alone, it belongs to the Filipino people,” Pacquiao said in accepting the honor. “We have shown how we the Filipino people can excel in a world-class arena because of hard work, dedication and faith in the Almighty.”
Session was suspended at 4:30 p.m. after the conferment ceremonies. Lawmakers later feted Pacquiao with a victory dinner that included a live band at the foyer of the Speaker’s entrance of the main building of the Batasang Pambansa complex.
Earlier in the day, Pacquiao went over a long list of projects and requests from his constituents that urgently needed to be implemented but were delayed due to lack of funds.
“I have many things to take care of. I’m overwhelmed I am back, there are many things to attend to here,” Pacquiao told reporters while seated at his desk in his office wearing a suit with a red striped tie.
He said among the requests flooding his office were for additional classrooms, a mini-gym, various livelihood programs, and the repair of the provincial hospital and municipal hall in Sarangani.
“I have to prioritize the classrooms and the livelihood programs,” he said.
He said he thought of a novel idea to help more of his constituents despite limited government funds at his disposal by entering into an exchange deal with the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO), which plans to tap him as one of its endorsers.
He said instead of getting his talent fee, he would ask the PCSO to convert the amount into ambulances that he can distribute to each of municipality of the province.
“I won’t get my payment anymore (from PCSO),” Pacquiao said. “I always want to help my country and my fellow Filipinos.”
“I’m happy for the blessing that I receive from God, like my earnings from boxing. I wish I would be of great service and help to others,” he said.
As an endorser, Pacquiao is likely to earn millions.
He said he is willing to take additional tasks in the name of public service as his current duties and schedules permit.
Tuesday, 23 November 2010