Manny Pacquiao donates 1,000 homes
There was a media frenzy in Phnom Penh before Christmas when world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao visited the Kingdom on a two-day state visit alongside Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. Few knew the boxer was also in the housing business.
After a reception at Phnom Penh’s Sofitel Hotel with the president of the National Olympic Committee of Cambodia (NOCC) and Minister of Tourism Thong Khon, Mr. Khon said the NOCC had proposed appointing Mr. Pacquiao as a sports ambassador to Cambodia to train and inspire Cambodia’s burgeoning young fighters in the build-up to the 2023 SEA Games.
Mr. Pacquiao has developed a cult following in Cambodia, with both the nation’s leadership and the general public tracking his every move in the form of countless social media selfie posts and tabloidesque media coverage.
Yet given Cambodia’s current shortage of affordable housing initiatives, and high land prices essentially blocking the lower income bracket from residing in the nation’s wealth center of Phnom Penh, Mr. Pacquiao may offer further inspiration outside a boxing ring.
Earlier this year, Sharon Liew, the CEO of Huttons CPL Cambodia, said: “Allowing lower income families affordable housing options in wealthy areas of the CBD is key to social elevation for these groups and gives them more of a chance to raise their income levels in this generation and the next.”
After his famous fight with Floyd Mayweather in May 2015, Mr. Pacquiao, despite losing the bout on points, went home to the Philippines with approximately $120 million in fight revenue.
On his return, he opted to share some of this newfound wealth with the population of Sarangani, an area considered to be among the 10 poorest provinces in the Philippines.
In early 2016, Mr. Pacquiao donated funding for 1,000 new homes for low-income constituents in the province.
At the time of the donation, he said on his Facebook page: “I’m so happy giving these new homes free to my constituents in Sarangani province from my own pocket. More than 1,000 families are the beneficiaries.”
Some viewed this philanthropy as representing a double motive for the “The People’s Champ,” suggesting it was primarily driven by a political motive, to win support for the boxer-turned politician in the province’s constituency.
In May this year, the WBO world welterweight champion was elected to be among 12 new members of the upper house of Congress in the Philippines.
Yet that wasn’t the first time Mr. Pacquiao had donated his fight earnings. In 2015, a Philippine Star article reported that the boxing star signed more than 50 checks a day for hospital bills for his non-profit foundation.
The story also mentioned his regular sponsorship of scholarship programs, medical missions and that his house was always open for people seeking help and financial assistance.
Mr. Pacquiao may relate to those in positions of housing poverty, given his humble beginnings. Before he got his big break in boxing, Emmanuel “Manny” Dapidran Pacquiao dropped out of school on account of poverty.
By age 15, he had moved away from his family to the streets of Manila where he started forging the beginning of his fighting career. The rest is history.
James Whitehead, Director of Content @ Realestate.com.kh
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