Monday, October 19, 2009
According to a news account of Marv Dumon at Examiner.com, pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao reportedly voiced his opposition against the construction of Kamanga Power Plant (KPP),- a 200-megawatt (MW) coal-fired power plant in Sarangani Province, his home province. Pacman tied-up with civil and religious groups there to prevent the proposed large-scale project being pushed by the Conal Holdings Corporation (CHC). CHC is a joint venture with Thailand company Egko and Mindanao-based Alsons Consolidated Resources. That is Manny Pacquiao, the politician (or celebrity advocate), for you. As we all know, after his fight against Miguel Cotto this coming November 14,- win or lose, the Filipino boxing icon would be very busy preparing for 2010 local elections. Can Manny be a successful boxer and at the same time a productive legislator? Of course, the answer lies in people of Sarangani. Including performance and credibility of his political rival. Is his anti-KPP stance just for (political) show? I can’t tell you. You be the judge.
The most prominent professional boxer turned politician is Alexis Argüello from Nicaragua who allegedly committed suicide only last July 1, 2009. As a boxer, he was a three-time world champion. After his retirement from boxing, Argüello became active in Nicaraguan politics and in November 2008, he became mayor of Managua, the nation's capital city. Argüello is ranked 20th on Ring Magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. Alexis Argüello was accused of “dagdag-bawas” (vote-rigging).
On being a celebrity advocate, I am thinking of a boxer other than Pacquiao. How about the unbeaten and WBA International Super Flyweight champion Drian Francisco,- pride of Sablayan, would stand against the Mindoro Nickel Project (MNP) and other foreign and large-scale mining projects in Occidental Mindoro? Though I am just toying this idea in mind, I think there is nothing wrong if Francisco show up in rallies and other mass actions protesting these projects (of course subject to his availability) and insist that the companies should comply for the mining moratoria in the province. People close to him who are prominent personalities or anti-mining advocates in Sablayan, should let realize that mining is likely to damage his town’s important food production capacity, its eco-tourism potential,- among others. May his townspeople make him aware of the issue and together we would “sing” Kenneth E. Bouldings “A Ballad of Ecological Awareness” with these words : “There are benefits, of course, which maybe countable, but which/Have tendency to fall into the pocket of the rich./While the cost are apt to fall onto the shoulders of the poor./So cost-benefit analysis to neatly always sure/To justify the building of a solid concrete fact./While the Ecological Truth is left behind in the abstract..” Words as powerful as Argüello’s left hook that floored Mexican Ruben Olivares in Los Angeles during their prime.
Advocating for or against a certain socio-political issue and agenda like the MNP does not make a celebrity (in this case a boxer) a politician. This is not a case of mixing sports with politics. This is different from what Manny Pacquiao did and still want to do : to climb the political ring and directly participate in the battle. And the coal mining plant as one of his political campaign agenda. Manny is also politician, remember.
That is only if Drian Francisco is willing. That is only if such action is permitted and would not hinder ,- in one way or another, his boxing career. That is only if Jong has other things in mind other than fighting WBA champ Nobuo Nashiro or any other opponents. That is only if Drian Francisco loves his province and Mother Nature just like how much he loves boxing.
And in times like these,- we need dedicated advocates, not nihilarians …
(DZVT File photo: Lloyd Francisco, Drian "Jong" Francisco, me and Daisy, the round (bellied) girl...)