By FORMER SENATOR ATTY. JOEY D. LINA
Last Sunday’s thrilling triumph of Sen. Manny Pacquiao over Keith Thurman is certainly a shining testament to the indomitable human spirit’s grim determination to conquer formidable challenges.
Not only was it a triumph over a previously undefeated boxer, it was a victory over something seldom beaten – the limitation posed by the ravages of time.
Becoming the oldest welterweight champion in boxing history, the 40-year-old boxing legend has proven to be an ageless wonder and his latest victory ought to inspire everyone, young and old alike. Pacquiao has shown the world how determination, discipline, hard work, perseverance, passion and all other qualities of a true champion can still do wonders despite being way past his prime.
His remarkable achievement in the action-packed bout that earned him the WBA welterweight super championship is certainly a victory or all Filipinos, especially those of us who look up to him as a modern-day hero who can truly inspire and unite the country amid difficult times.
The courage and tenacity of Paquiao was in full display as he dazzled adoring fans with the combinations he unleashed with superior hand speed and footwork. Thurman also displayed remarkable tenacity as he continued to push through the middle rounds despite suffering a first round knockdown.
“My opponent is a good fighter and boxer. He was strong… I think he did his best, and I did my best. I think we made the fans happy tonight because it was a good fight,” Pacquiao said.
It was indeed a good fight between two champions. And Pacquiao’s incredible performance – the third in a row since his solid back-to-back victories over Lucas Matthysse and Adrien Broner – can be so inspiring, especially after many fans thought his heartbreaking loss to Jeff Horn in 2017 had ended his boxing career.
Pacquiao’s amazing comeback could inspire an exhilarating sense of pride, unity, never-ending hope, and passion among Filipinos. But what if the same passion is used in pursuit of national development? And, what if Pacquiao’s passion rubs on not only on young Filipinos, but also on those who are already past their prime, who think they can no longer contribute to the nation’s well-being simply because they feel old and are no longer idealistic?
Filipinos, no matter how old they are, as long as they are passionate about our country, can be prime movers in improving our nation’s quality of life. They can bring about an effective and honest government responsive to the pressing needs of the times. They can be the driving force to install God-fearing, competent and compassionate leaders who have the right strategy to create jobs and livelihood for the people and bail out the country from poverty, injustice, underdevelopment, breakdown in peace and order, inequality, and other social ills.
Thus, even if one is way past his or her prime, a relentless passion to contribute talent, skills, knowledge and experience in the pursuit of excellence can certainly go a long way towards uplifting our nation’s plight.
Of course, young Filipinos are also a force to reckon with, being the largest sector of Philippine society, and with hardly any vested interest to protect, with time on their side, and with talent and potential to develop. When fully enlightened, motivated, inspired, and mobilized, the youth sector is the single most formidable block of citizens that can change society.
With present-day information technology, today’s youth can utilize powerful tools capable of reaching millions, influencing them with ideals and aspirations, and mobilizing them to act in unison to bring forth progress and truly effect critical positive change and renew the people’s faith in government.
To dream is a privilege of the youth which they should never abandon, lest they lose their youthfulness with the sense of idealism it entails. The Filipino youth, to be the hope of the fatherland as envisioned by our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, should continue to dream big – of a better place, a more developed country, an egalitarian society. But with the millennial generation already making its presence felt in the public discourse, there is no doubt that youth empowerment is alive.
Pacquiao’s amazing saga over the years is truly inspiring. For his perseverance, discipline, humility, kindness, and, of course, unwavering faith in God, Filipinos can look up to him as a great source of inspiration. His passion can inspire everyone to pursue national transformation leading to a better quality of life for all Filipinos.
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