Fair Play: Tax break for Pacman? Are you nuts!

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's March 2 edition)
MANNY Pacquiao is entitled to a P3.5-billion take from the purse alone from his mega fight with Floyd Mayweather. After taxes of course, his trainers will get a cut from his payout, but aside from the purse, he’s entitled to his share of the US pay-per-view income, which is projected to break the record, and, from his previous deal with Bob Arum, he also has a cut in the pay-per-view income in the Philippines.

All-in-all, because of the Mayweather fight, he’d be a billionaire multiple times over.

Now tell me, do you think Manny Pacquiao deserves a tax exemption? Does he, let me unroll my eyes, deserve a tax break to inspire him in his training?

If Sen. Koko Pimentel would have his way, Pacquiao would get a tax exemption for “promoting the Philippines,” but such notion is baloney. As a billionaire, Pacquiao should pay what he is required to pay, and not get any exemptions.

If, as Pacquiao is arguing, that he has already paid his taxes to Uncle Sam and shouldn’t be shelling out more for Mang Pandoy, then that is for the courts to decide.

That’s not something the Philippine senate should be stepping into.

Come on! Let’s cut the crap, the PR and the spin shall we. Pacquiao is fighting for Pacquiao. He isn’t fighting for the Philippines and he gets handsomely paid for doing so. Why give him a tax exemption for doing something that already earns him billions?

Shouldn’t those who earn more, pay more in taxes and shouldn’t those who earn less pay less? Are we that blinded to the religion that is Pacquiao that we’d give him everything plus the kitchen sink too?

And if it’s for promoting the Philippines, then why single out Pacquiao? All our other international sports campaigners promote the Philippines indirectly, and heck, all those other viral YouTube videos promote the Philippines too. Shall we grant them tax exemptions and kiss all their lovely asses too?

And if you want to take things further, what aspect of the Philippines is really promoted in a Pacquiao fight? The fact that we elected an absentee politician to Congress? That opportunities for striking it rich for the poor is so limited that boxing is one way to get out of poverty? Or the fact that a third-world country with corruption issues is even entertaining the thought of giving its multi-billionaire athlete a tax break.

Haven’t we kissed Pacquiao’s ass enough?

Who deserves a tax break more? A guy earning billions from a boxing match or the guy who’s dodging bullets to preserve the peace? Yes, Pacquiao honors us with his fights, he promotes the Philippines with his fights.

But let’s be honest, if he doesn’t get paid enough, these fights won’t happen. In contrast, whether they get paid in time or not and whether they get publicity or not, firefighters, cops, and soldiers do their duty.

No questions and no tax breaks asked. And no Koko Pimentels to look after their fiscal health, too.

Let’s stop bending our backs for Manny. If he gets these mega-buck fights and earn billions, then, just like the millions of other workers out there, he should pay what he must.

Or are we trying to show that in the Philippines, if you are that famous and have many friends in congress, you are entitled to skip your taxes?

Instead of bending over backward for Pacquiao, a world boxing icon, it would be a much worthwhile effort if Sen. Pimentel helps fallen world boxing icon Luisito Espinosa get his $130,000 purse for his 1997 world title defense.

Now that was a fight for the Philippines. Then the world champion, he was persuaded to go on with the fight against Carlos Rios without seeing a purse so the country won’t be embarassed and the fans won’t be disappointed.

Eighteen years later, he has yet to see a single cent.


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