Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Losses by Pacquaio and Pablo

Devastating losses hover the Philippines. In those losses, many Filipinos tend to look up and utter, why? They still believe that the One above knows why.

The losses happened in separate locations: Mindanao and Las Vegas. The first one was about the loss of lives and properties caused by typhoon “Pablo.” The second one was about the knockout loss of Manny Pacquaio, an icon and pride of the Philippines. 

Unbelievable. That’s how the media sees the losses of lives in Mindanao. Also that’s how the boxing world describe the knockout loss by Pacquiao.

Interestingly, both losses have been associated with religious beliefs. This is not surprising. In a country where more than 80 percent rate themselves as religious, according to a 1998 Survey on Religion of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP), religion is deeply rooted in every aspect of daily life.

First in Mindanao, no less than a Catholic bishop had observed the association between the tragedy which killed hundreds of people and God’s message in the tragedy. In an interview by a Catholic-run Radio Veritas, Manila Auxillary Bishop Broderick Pabillo said, “I’m not sure if it may be just a coincidence, or God has a message that whenever it (Reproductive Health bill) is being decisively discussed, tragedies strike us.”

Bishop Pabillo, in the first instance, was refering to the controversial RH bill which is nearing passage in both Houses of the Philippine Congress. Vehemently opposed by the Catholic Church, the RH bill seeks to implement universal access to methods of contraception, age-appropriate sex education, maternal care, among others. In the second instance, the bishop was refering to this year’s  August and September massive floodings  in Metro Manila and surrounding areas which killed hundreds and displaced millions of people. During those times, the debates on RH bill were at their peak inside the halls of Congress and on the streets.
The bishop received criticisms for making the connection. Despite of that, many faithful shared  the view and connection made by the bishop. The critics, however, pointed to mining, illegal logging, and ill-preparedness of local governments and residents as the real culprits of the tragedy in Mindanao.

Second in Las Vegas, the knockout loss by Manny Pacquaio was beyond comprehension by his die-hard fans, especially Filipinos. Prior to the fight, boxing analyts put Pacquiao in a 2-1 favorite to win the fourth match with his Mexican rival, Juan Manuel Marquez. It meant that a bet of 2 dollars for Pacquaio would win 1 dollar if he prevailed. He lost by knockout.

Both boxers, in their interviews, provided their own explanations why the stunning knockout came. Marquez said that it was his technique and preparation that led to it. Pacquaio, on his part, said that it was his overconfidence when he carelessly charged for his vaunted 1-2 punch that made him a perfect recipient of a solid right counter-punch.

Boxing experts and analysts somewhat agreed on the two explanations, but they also offered their own. For example, former boxing champion Roy Jones Jr. thought that the muscular built of Marquez had added to the power which surprisingly put Pacquaio twice on the canvas; the last one was for good.

However, as we often say, mothers know best. Pacquaio's mother, a.k.a Mommy Dionisia, was interviewed, and she associated the loss to his son's change of religion. As a devout Catholic, Dionisia raised her son as a Catholic. In Pacquaio's previous fights, he would be normally seen wearing a rosary laced around his neck and making a sign of cross in every start of a round. This time (and in Bradley's fight where he lost too in a controversial decision), he was not seen wearing a rosary and making signs of a cross. His newly embraced religious beliefs prevented him from doing so.

The interview of Mommy Dionisia was beamed in a national television in the Philippines. Many Filipinos, to a certain extent through social media, gave credence to her explanation of that loss. They believe that Pacquaio received a message from the One embraced by majority of Filipinos, but may be not anymore by Pacquaio.
Similarly as hinted by the bishop, the losses in Mindanao is a message to the people who attempt to bend their religious beliefs to accommodate and, at the same time, cut the excesses of the modern world (e.g. hedonism, overpopulation, sexually transmitted diseases, etc.).

With all the given explanations of these losses, many Filipinos remain unconvinced, even by looking upward. The message might have been lost in the emotions. Incidentally, it is December. Majority of Filipinos believe that the true message is in the Child who is to come. And His message is of victory, superseding the losses of His peoples.

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