Pacman delivers 1st House speech

07/28/2010 - MANILA, Philippines – Boxing champion Rep. Manny Pacquiao of Sarangani delivered last night his first privilege speech in which he revealed his plans for his province.

He said 40 percent of his province mates “have no adequate housing, no adequate food and no proper nutrition.”

“For those 40 percent, it’s not just a statistic. It’s their daily experience of life. Numbers are very useful for all sorts of things. But numbers don’t tell us what something is really like. For that, we need imagination. Better yet, actual experience. For me, poverty was an actual experience. I know what it feels like to do without a home, to do without food. I know what’s like to go hungry. That was me for the first half of my life,” he told his colleagues.

“Yes! I knew hunger, homelessness, and what it was like to want to go to school but unable to do so. Life then seemed hopeless. I still sometimes find it hard to believe that I am now where I am,” he said.

He said Sarangani is a “one-livelihood province” that relies only on fishing as its people’s means of livelihood.

“But why should we confine ourselves to fishing? We also have corn, rice and coconut. These industries are crying out to be improved. And that is one of the things we will do. We will improve the production, post-harvest and marketing processes for corn, rice and coconut. Yes! We are going to diversify,” he said.

He said they would also go into “cooperative coffee farming, which we are already studying.”

“Livelihood is the first important thing on our agenda. Without a source of livelihood, people go hungry. But there are two other things just as crucial. One of them is health. Did you know that Sarangani does not have a provincial hospital?” he stressed.

He pointed out that the other concern he would like to attend to is education.

“We are going to make sure that there is continuous educational upgrading in Sarangani... we will coordinate with Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) on what the most relevant and useful programs are. We are also going to put up the Placement Assistance Coordination and Manpower Assessment Network Centers, or Pacman Centers for short,” he said.

“I can barely contain my excitement about what Sarangani can become, will become. I am eager too that I will be part of these improvements in my province,” he said.

“But I have a special request to make of you, my colleagues, and of the people of Sarangani. There is something else I want to contribute and I hope you will give me your blessing. I want to do something for the Filipino athlete. I want us to work together, and to work very hard, to win the first Filipino gold medal in the Olympics,” he added.

The boxing champion-turned-lawmaker thanked his wife Jinkee for her “loving support... and every Filipino who has ever watched and cheered for Manny Pacquiao.”

“So let’s get started on this road to progress. I am tempted to quote Robert Front - ‘the woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.’ However, in the effervescence of my youth, I chose Michael Buffer’s famous line, ‘Let’s get ready to rumble!’,” he said.

“But in the same fashion that I end my fights, let me leave you with this prayer that I carry with me all these years - ‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference’,” he said.

Pacquiao also told his colleagues that he had asked himself frequently if he could be a “good congressman.”

“And my resounding answer is, with my heart in the right place, my work ethic, my discipline, and my commitment to learn from wiser and more experienced people such as all of you here today, yes, I can be a good congressman,” he said (Philippine Star)

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