TOMORROW, the Philippines stands still while our very own Manny Pacquiao fights Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has remained unbeaten not only by his previous 47 opponents in the ring but also by four or so women whom he had punched even in front of their children.
Americans call Mayweather the king of pay-per-view for drawing the highest number of viewers when he fought Oscar de la Hoya in 2007. But America is not the only place with pay-per-view. If the PPV figures are not limited to the United States, then Manny Pacquiao is No. 1 without any question. The record of 2.48-million PPV subscribers in the Mayweather-Alvarez fight is easily dwarfed by the number of those in the Philippines who pay to watch the live coverage of every Pacquiao fight.
The streets of Metro Manila, notorious for traffic logjam, will be virtually deserted once the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight begins. Few common crimes are committed, suggesting that petty criminals are taking their day off to watch Pacquiao fight. Even the guns of rebels will be silent, just to show how popular Pacquiao is in the country.
Movie houses and other entertainment venues will be filled with Pacquiao fans eager to see how their hero will fare against Mayweather. Those in the provinces with no cable TV will content themselves with the delayed telecast of the fight or with the live radio coverage. Some 900 lucky Filipinos, on the other hand, will be watching the fight right at the MGM Grand after Pacquiao had gifted with precious tickets valued at about $4 million.
At least 20 of the lucky 900 are legislators who haven’t been identified yet. Had the tickets not been so limited, the House could have constituted a quorum at MGM Grand. Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Bong Revilla must be ruing their inability to go to Las Vegas this time after attending almost all of Pacquiao’s previous fights, including those before he became a congressman. Sen Lito Lapid was also a regular in Pacquiao’s ring engagements and he has a better chance of going to Vegas than Estrada or Revilla. I don’t know though if he’s among those gifted with a treasured ticket.
In the United States, TV stations limit the number of commercials in their coverage of highly anticipated events like the Final Four of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the championship games of the National Basketball Association, the Major League Baseball and the National Football League. Still, these stations make a pile of money by hiking their advertising rates in the coverage of these major sporting events. Can’t the Philippine TV stations follow the same tack for the sake of the poor viewers?
Labor woes under Aquino echo those of farmers
President BS Aquino The Last has been crowing about the economic growth attained under his administration. Labor, however, is not shouting with glee. Workers share the sentiments of farmers who have been left out and ignored by Aquino whose main preoccupation and top “achievement” has been to enhance big business.
The President may correctly point to the huge profits earned by giant companies but he can’t rightfully claim that workers had also made equally impressive gains during his term. Most of the workers still have to enjoy job security, living wage and decent working conditions. Add to this the growing number of unemployed and underemployed. This frustration and loss of confidence of workers in him were made manifest at the celebration of Labor Day Friday, May 1.
The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa and members of their coalition group decided Monday to boycott the traditional Labor Day dialogue/breakfast in Malacañang of the President and labor leaders. They can’t swallow the continuing inaction of BS Aquino on what they called “workable and time-bound eight-point agenda” they had proposed to enable economic growth to reach the grassroots.
Their eight-point agenda unacted upon by Aquino since 2012 includes the following: streamlining of labor contracting, lower cost of electricity, implementation of an agro-industrial plan to create stable jobs, reforming of the wage-setting mechanism, and passage of the Freedom of Information bill.
A press statement from the group quoted the president of the Sentro ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa as saying: “During the last five years we didn’t ask President Aquino to produce miracles. Yet a simple certification of pro-labor measure such as the Security of Tenure bill to regulate contractualization did not even warrant his attention.”