Saturday, December 07, 2013

Fair Play: Thank Manny by saying thank you

I MAY BE biased, but for me, one of the best bunch of national athletes was that 2010 Philippine men’s national team that played in the Suzuki Cup. Before the tournament, they got the same amount of compensation as the attention given them, which was next to nothing.

That they gave honor and pride to the country for what they have done can’t be disputed.



Some are enjoying the fruits of their labors, getting endorsement deals, fat contracts and even showbiz stints.

Now, should we, as a country say thank you for by giving them lifetime exemption from paying taxes?

No.

That is absurd!

Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol Gunigundo is right. Manny Pacquiao is a “gifted athlete with a knockout punch and lightning speed” and his victories in the boxing ring has given pride to the country but must we say thank you by exempting him from paying
taxes?

Why?

Honor?

Why? Whenever Top Rank and Manny Pacquiao’s agents are discussing his next fights, what is their primary consideration? Do they tell each other, “would this fight give honor to the Filipinos? Or would this fight give us millions?”

Honor?

Mikaela Calamba brought honor to the country by winning two world titles at the tender age of 16, Paeng Nepomuceno holds the record for winning four world titles in bowling and Onyok Velasco got us our last Olympic medal. These are but a few who brought honor and pride to the country with their exploits in sports.

And what of those in other disciplines as well? And those teachers, doctors, students who get worldwide recognition for their achievement?

They honored us, too. How come nobody is filing any bills for them. Because they are not famous enough? Or is it because they didn’t have millions owed to the BIR?

I can’t begin to comprehend the rationale of Rep. Gunigundo’s bill but what he seems to have forgotten is that yes, Manny may bring honor to the Philippines every time he fights, but he gets a lot of cash too.

Yes, he works hard for it, but so do the everyday man and women, folks who guys like Rep. Gunigundo often ignore. That cashier, that cop, that security guard, that reporter, that waiter, that driver. They work hard too. They pay taxes too.

And then there’s Luisito Lindol Espinosa, one of the greatest champions the Philippines has ever produced. He’s still alive, but forgotten. The last I heard of him, the former face of Philippine boxing is now a cook, still crying over that unpaid purse of his when he knocked out Carlos Rios in South Cotabato in Dec. 6, 1997 to retain his WBC featherweight title.

He wrote to three Presidents—Erap, Gloria and PNoy—asking for help in getting his purse—a paltry $130,000, compared to the $18 million of Manny’s.

Fifteen years later, he’s still waiting.

And poor Lindol. He has no millions, no friends, no congressional staff, no PR machines and what else doesn’t he have?

A congressman filing a bill on his behalf.

Yes, Manny Pacquiao has made us proud through his exploits in the ring, which in turn, has earned him millions upon millions of dollars.

But giving him that kind of honor means we insult the memories, names and deeds of those athletes who got nothing but a few “thank yous” when they made us proud.

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