Pacquiao fights poverty as envoy for homeless | Inquirer News

Pacquiao fights poverty as envoy for homeless

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 12:05 AM July 24, 2011

Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao has a new title under his belt.

Habitat for Humanity Philippines (HFHP) formally conferred Thursday the “Habitat Hero Ambassador” title on Pacquiao, who vowed to help provide decent homes to underprivileged families in Saranggani province, which he represents in Congress.

Habitat’s campaign chair Fernando Zobel described Pacquiao as someone who embodies the organization’s advocacy of fighting poverty and inspiring Filipinos to work together for the cause.


He said Pacquiao’s rise from poverty and his outstanding global achievement were symbols of hope that HFHP endeavors to share with communities in the Philippines and beyond.


“He is a man who rose to become one of the greatest boxers of our time, one who brought so much pride to our country and who cares deeply for the less fortunate Filipinos,” Zobel said.

“For a person that has achieved so much fame, he continues to be incredibly grounded, humble, down to earth and very sincere. It is such an honor for the country’s sports hero to lend his name and trust in the work that Habitat has been doing all these years,” he said.

Housing gift

Pacquiao gave away three hectares of his property for a housing and community project in Saranggani, while Habitat has committed to build an initial 100 homes in the project.

The partnership is part of Pacquiao’s response to fighting poverty in the country. Similarly, HFHP has been addressing the need for decent shelter in the Philippines for the past 23 years.

“Karangalan ko na maging ambassador ng Habitat for Humanity. Karangalan ko na bahagi ako ng programang napakaganda para sa ating mga kababayan (It is an honor to be a Habitat for Humanity ambassador. It is an honor to be a part of this wonderful program for our fellowmen),” Pacquiao said.


Pacquiao is the latest addition to the non-profit organization’s ambassadors for its “I Build… What Will You Build?” social responsibility campaign.

The campaign seeks to serve as a unifying catalyst to create a community building and development model by providing innovative and sustainable housing solutions to uplift the Filipino family.

‘I Build Filipino Pride’

Pacquiao, whose campaign statement is “I Build Filipino Pride,” said he believes that more than his foes in the boxing ring, poverty is a bigger and tougher opponent.

“Gusto ko i-knock-out ang kahirapan. Gusto ko tapusin ang kahirapan sa anumang paraan at magpatayo ng mga bahay para sa mahihirap na residente sa amin (I want to knock out poverty. I want to end poverty in any way and to build homes for the poor residents in our area),” the pound-for-pound king said.

“Binili ko yung lupa at binigay ko sa mga tao para magkaroon sila ng sariling bahay… sariling pera ko ang ibinili ko roon, kasi kung gobyerno pa ’yun, marami pang proseso (I bought the property and gave it away… I used my own money because if we relied on the government, it would require so many processes,” he added.

Committed ambassadors

Other Habitat ambassadors include actress and television host Kris Aquino, broadcast journalists Karen Davila and Arnold Clavio, former beauty queen Margie Moran-Floirendo, singer-stage actress Cris Villonco, young actor and racer Matteo Guidicelli, Alexandra Eduque, basketball sensation Chris Tiu, model-actor-athlete Derek Ramsay and television host Kim Atienza.

According to Davila, Habitat ambassadors were chosen not just for their face value but because of their commitment to the organization’s cause.

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“These are the people who actually built or sponsored houses for Habitat. Sila ang mga taong may puso talaga para sa Habitat (They are the people who really have the heart to help achieve Habitat’s mission),” she said in a previous interview. “When a celebrity has a genuine advocacy that helps the campaign a lot because (their voice and their commitment) translate to more volunteers, more awareness for the cause, more funds for building houses…”

TAGS: Poverty, Social Issues

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