POSTSCRIPT / July 21, 2015 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Pacquiao latest win: Returning to GenSan

MANY of us who follow the career of People’s Champ Manny Pacquiao are happy to hear that he and his wife Jinkee have gathered their children from their posh surroundings in Metro Manila to lead the simpler life in their native GenSan area.

The move will be good for everybody, especially the Pacquiao brood who would reap the fruits of their parents’ decision to pause, rethink, simplify and find strength from one’s home grounds in the presence of the Lord.

Most families do not get this chance, or if the opportunity knocks fail to grab it. The Pacquiaos are fortunate that material want appears to be the least of their worries while they face other tests.

I was pleased to read in the Inquirer website over the weekend about the Pacquiaos’ decision to relocate to their General Santos-Sarangani base, the reasons they gave, and the disciplined way the kids took it. The report was written by Aquiles Z. Zonio.

I lingered over the candid picture showing Manny carrying his year-old son Israel, Jinkee’s motherly arms on the shoulders of her daughters Queen Elizabeth, 6, and Mary Divine Grace, 8, their sons Michael Stephen, 13, and Emmanuel Jimuel Jr., 14, standing behind them.

The four older kids had been pulled out of Brent International School in Laguna, where the boys had acquired a hint of British accent, and enrolled at Hope Christian School in General Santos City.

Pacquiao, 36, who also serves as Sarangani congressman, told Zonio about wanting his children to experience what he went through as a poor boy in GenSan.

“They’re doing fine,” Jinkee said of their children. “They’re not having difficulties and they have adjusted easily.” According to her, they love the simplicity of their rural surroundings now and do not miss the chaos of life in the big city.”

Jinkee, who is Sarangani vice governor (and will not run again when her term ends next year), spends more time with the children than does her husband who is into many things, including training camp. He credits his wife for the children’s discipline.

The best thing about the transfer was that “we are always together now unlike before,” Jinkee told Zonio, adding that “living away from the children was not conducive to nurturing a happy family.”

Pacquiao savors return to simple life

ON PACQUIAO’S also wanting to return to a simple life, Zonio reported that the boxer likes staying at his beach resort in Barangay Tinoto where he has a hut for entertaining clients, visitors, friends and constituents.

That probably helps reconnect him to his past when he had to miss meals and sleep on cardboard. By sheer determination and with God’s help, he became one of the world’s greatest sports champions, capturing eight world titles in eight different weight divisions.

From a childhood hounded by poverty, he has become the wealthiest congressman in the country, reporting a net worth of P1.7 billion in his 2014 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

“This is what I want,” Pacquiao told Zonio referring to his retreat. “On Saturdays, I go home to General Santos City, because on Sundays we go to church as a family.”

The couple’s eldest, Emmanuel Jimuel, said their parents had taught them “to fear God and to remain humble and respectful to all people.”

Mary Divine Grace, known as “Princess”, thanked her parents’ being good examples. She said the family prays a lot — about three to four times a day – and that “praying makes us stronger and brings us closer to each other”.

At some point in his life, Pacquiao turned from a practicing Catholic to a “born again” convert and Bible-quoting preacher. Watch him in his matches to check reports that he had stopped even his routine of making the sign of the cross before plunging into a fight.

Arum isn’t happy with Pacquiao retreat

IF THERE is anyone not happy with the “return of the native”, it is boxing promoter Bob Arum who has been raking in millions handling the fights of the Pacman from GenSan.

In Macau, a visibly displeased Arum was quoted by the AFP as saying “(Pacquiao) has not been acting very professionally, as far as I’m concerned he is not an active fighter.”

Arum was pissed with the boxer’s not showing up for his July 4 rehab visit to his doctor in Los Angeles for healing his torn right shoulder rotator cuff sustained in his points-defeat against Floyd Mayweather in Las Vegas last May.

Days after he was due to see the surgeon, Pacquiao even travelled to Indonesia with his wife to film a television advertisement and to visit Mary Jane Veloso, a Filipina awaiting execution by firing squad for having been caught in 2009 carrying 2.6 kilograms of heroin in her suitcase.

“We’re hoping to help save Mary Jane’s life, I think she’s a victim of human-trafficking,” Pacquiao said after visiting the single mother of two youngsters in Wirogunan prison in Java last July 10.

But Arum insisted in Macau that Pacquiao’s first priority should have been to be back in LA for an appointment with his surgeon.

If you ask us, Manny, Jinkee and their five children are right in rethinking their family life together. Let Arum make his millions elsewhere.

(First published in the Philippine STAR of July 21, 2015)

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