This timely glimpse into the future of US-Philippine relations is a guest post from singer-songwriter and sweet-science aficionado Paul K.
A PAC MAN OF A NEW KIND
Manny Takes Oath of Office, US Prepares for Title Fight in the Pacific
In this populous, primarily Catholic and Muslim island nation, hopes are high that a Pacquiao administration will revitalize US-Filipino relations and deal knockout punches to both terrorism and poverty. The new president (47-1 with 36 by KO) will govern from the center, he has said, remaining in the 146-lb. bracket and avoiding the corners.
In the US, Commerce, State and Defense department officials were cautiously optimistic, even as rumblings were heard not only in Washington but in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Of chief concern is the seeming slipperiness and speed of the new Filipino president and the fear that a bloated US military could have trouble pinning down the elusive, height-challenged (5’6”) champ. Also potentially troubling is the question of whether Pacquiao, whose fight nickname is “Pacman” after the 1980’s video-game gobbler, will be able to maintain his usual grace in juggling four careers: boxer, actor, pop singer and head of state.
Current events in the Philippines will surely test Pacquiao’s storied ability to bob and weave. With banana, coffee and oil prices at ten-year highs the Philippines remain impoverished, having been all but swindled out of the bulk of dividends from the so-called “Asian economic miracle.” Manny’s strategy will undoubtedly rely on massive infusions of capital as well as “punchstat”-style goal-achieving record-keeping and the use of the regulatory counter-jab, according to a well-placed source.
“Pacman won’t go out but on a stretcher,” the source, said to be an aide to Rep. Kelly Pavlik (D-OH), claims bluntly. “He won’t stop, won’t back off, wouldn’t even consider throwing in the towel.”
The new president’s former trainer, Freddie Roach, told reporters what else to expect of the administration. “Manny will come out swinging, working to both uppercut American imperialism and undercut China’s miserable productivity-to-earnings ratio,” Roach said. Speaking from the Los Angeles set of his television show “Roach Motel” through a voice-actuation synthesizer, he added, “The guy (Pacquiao) does his homework and I know he’ll have his export-based economy ramped up high within weeks of the opening bell.”
Such words do not come easily to the ailing Roach, whose reality show, which documents the goings-on at a “reality-show contestant’s ‘training camp,'” recently plummeted in the ratings and is in danger of cancellation. “We’ve been getting pounded in there lately,” he said, “but with Manny sworn in maybe we’ll get some better shots landed, ratings-wise.” Mr. Pacquiao appeared twice on the show during last year’s campaign.
The swearing-in took place at a soccer field in General Santos City, the teeming, now-famous slum outside Manila the new president still calls home. The champ bankrolled a turkey and rice feast immediately after the ceremony for residents of the neighborhood. Filipino attorney Jesus de la Corte, the former celebrity chef and one time aide-de-camp to Imelda Marcos, delivered the oath while holding a Roman Catholic bible.