Pacquiao donates P2.75 M of own money for Sarangani housing projectBy Aquiles Zonio
GENERAL SANTOS CITY, Philippines—Eight-division boxing champ Manny Pacquiao returned this week to the impoverished Barangay Tango in Glan, Sarangani—the village where he spent his boyhood years—to give free houses and lots to his former neighbors in the shantytown.
The project in Purok 1 in Tango proper is worth P1.5 million—with the barangay government putting up P750,000 and Pacquiao the other P750,000—and will benefit 94 families.
Another project in the same village will cost P2 million, funded completely from the pugilist-turned-congressman’s own pocket. It is spread out over two hectares and will benefit more than 100 families.
“You don’t have to pay anything except that you must help build your own houses,” Pacquiao told the beneficiaries during a visit to the site on Tuesday.
The houses will be built with the help of Habitat for Humanity.
“When you already own the lot, don’t sell it. Once you sell it, where will you live? You will be squatters again,” he said.
Pacquiao said the money for houses and the lots came from the prize he won in his bout with Antonio Margarito and they should value it.
“Don’t forget that this housing project was built using the prize money I won during my fight with Margarito. During that fight, I was hit here,” Pacquaio said, laughing as he pointed to his right rib cage.
Sarangani Gov. Miguel Dominguez said the housing projects will be called “Pacman-Tata” village.
He said Pacquiao’s efforts might be met with skepticism because of being a politician but what was important was that it made a lot of difference in the lives of the beneficiaries.
“Congressman Pacquiao, you have touched 195 lives today, maraming salamat,” Dominguez said in a speech.
Tango village chair Edwin Pacaldo said Pacquiao showed his great concern for the villagers.
Pacquiao has been very open about his intention to run for governor of Sarangani in next year’s elections. But people close to him said what he was doing had no political color.
Pacquiao, who rose to become one of the world’s richest athletes, was known as a philanthropist here even before he became a politician. He has been sending poor children to school through a scholarship fund he had set up under the Manny Pacquiao Foundation.