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Op-Ed

Peoples’ champ turned LGBT foe

Kapederasyon LGBT Organization: “We in Kapederasyon denounce Pacquiao’s ‘masahol pa sa hayop’ statement as irresponsibly devoid of social aptitude. As a world-renowned boxing champ and icon, it is shamelessly deplorable of him to utter such sweeping generalization.”

Statement of Kapederasyon LGBT Organization on the Manny Pacquiao debacle.

Rep. Manny Pacquiao’s recent statement in a media interview affirming his long-standing abhorrence of same-sex marriage is nothing new to the LGBT community and the Filipino people. As early as 2012, Pacquiao mouthed time and again what’s expected of his beliefs being a Christian conservative who grew up amidst the old-fashioned set of values in rural Sarangani province.

Pacquiao’s past and present anti-LGBT proclamations evoked diverse reactions from various groups, praises from homophobes, and condemnation from the LGBT community and equal rights advocates. These statements however did Paquiao more bad than good; exposing what bodies of thought dominate his cranium, surely detestable to the intellectuals among the electorate, drifting him away from the equal rights advocates among his boxing fans, and widening further the gap his statements generated between his electoral bid and the LGBT community.

The fact that Pacquiao stated as if an expert in zoology that animals do not exhibit homosexual behavior reflects of his obliviousness to scientific truths and his seeming isolation from the realities around him. For someone running for a Senate seat in the 2016 Philippine elections who is consistently among the top candidates in surveys, such a statement is alarming as his election to a government position as influential as a senator’s could intensify homophobia and heighten the incidence of hate crimes against LGBT people. Likewise, a seat for him in Senate would mean another vote to impede the passage of an anti-discrimination bill that has been lagging for a long time in Congress, and the anti-hate crime bill still about to be filed.

For someone running as senator of the country, Pacquiao should spend more time unlearning outmoded views that may have confined his mind frame inside a rigid box of obsolescence. He should take steps to adapt to the fast-changing actualities outside both his religious upbringing and the boxing ring.

We in Kapederasyon denounce Pacquiao’s “masahol pa sa hayop” statement as irresponsibly devoid of social aptitude. As a world-renowned boxing champ and icon, it is shamelessly deplorable of him to utter such sweeping generalization. Set aside the danger such a far-out opinion might inflict to the reputation of the Filipinos already tainted by systemic global exploitation, Pacquiao’s series of insults to the LGBT people are not far from being misconstrued by his boxing fans around the globe as the prevailing Filipino belief. He is the Filipino peoples’ champion, for God’s sake, in a field of sport – boxing – too violent to be considered “mabuti pa sa hayop.”

This incident only shows that Manny Paquiao has still a lot to learn, one of which is putting in practice the “separation of church and State” principle. As far as legislation is concerned, he obviously had not even started, as manifested by his habitual absences from regular sessions of Congress where he is supposedly a member. Knowing that his capacity to learn is below normal outside boxing, he must consider taking further education on science and society in order for him to be worthy of a Senate seat.

After all, it took him a long time absorbing capitalist oppression and understanding labor exploitation before taking the side of the workers and embracing their cause in the struggle for higher wages.

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