MANILA, PHILIPPINES – Before declaring his intention of running for a Senate seat, boxing champ Manny Pacquiao said that one of his priority bills when he got elected is to mandate every Filipino athlete to answer the call of the national team.
The boxing champ admitted that playing for the national team and representing the country is an honor and privilege that no one should turn his back to it.
Pacquiao is also aware of the difficulties faced by the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas (SBP) in forming the Gilas Pilipinas team who ended being a runner-up against China in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship.
“Sa basketball, pagdating sa mga ganyan, magpapasa tayo ng (panukalang) batas na kung ikaw ay naglalaro pa, at kinuha ka ng team ng Pilipinas, dapat obligado ka maglaro,” said Paquiao in an interview with Spin.ph.
(In basketball or in any sports, we will mandate a law that obliges every Filipino athlete to participate in major international tournaments especially when the country calls out for support.)
“Halimbawa, Pilipino ka, bumuo ng team ang bansa – you have to participate,” added the world renowned boxing champion.
(For example, you’re a Filipino and the country formed a team for tournaments – you have to participate.)
“Kung hindi ka magre-respond sa tawag ng bandila, kung hindi ka susunod, hindi mo dapat sinasabi na Pilipino ka.”
(If you’re not going to respond to the call of our country, you should not claim that you’re a Filipino.)
Manny Pacquiao said the only answer to one of the problems to Philippine sports is to pass a law obliging every Filipino athlete to participate in international competitions.
“Kasi wala tayong batas para magpilit sa kanila na sumali sa Team Pilipinas. Kailangan natin ng bill siguro na ganyan, para ma-obliga sila [Filipino athletes] na lumaro,” said the world boxing champ to Spin.ph
(We don’t have a law that mandates every athlete to join the Philippine national team. We need a bill to oblige them [Filipino athletes] to participate.)
“Being a Filipino, you should comply and respect our nation’s flag. This is an honor for our country,” he added.
Witnessing most of the games played by Gilas 3.0 in Changsha, China, Pacquiao praised the team for their performance that came a short win to gain a ticket to Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro next year.
In line of supporting the national team, Manny Pacquiao is very willing to extend his support financially for Filipino athletes especially if the country expects of becoming successful in major international meets including the Olympics.
“Sa akin agree ako diyan na increasan ang budget ng (Philippine) Sports Commission (PSC)…Walang problema sa akin…Ang budget ng gobyerno para sa tao talaga ‘yan,” said the boxing superstar to Spin.ph.
(I do also agree in increasing the budget of (Philippine) Sports Commission (PSC)…There’s no problem with that…The budget of the government is really intended for the Filipino people.)
Pacquiao also stressed the talents of Filipino athletes can’t help them survive alone, they [athletes] also need sufficient funding and support.