Senator Manny Pacquiao has earned himself a Political Science degree from the University of Makati. Unfortunately, many netizens couldn’t help but diminish the achievement because, well, they’re elitists with a bad case of crab mentality.
Article VI of the Philippine Constitution provides the following limitations for who is qualified to run as a Senator of the Philippines:
“No person shall be a Senator unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, and on the day of the election, is at least 35 years of age, able to read and write, a registered voter, and a resident of the Philippines for not less than two years immediately preceding the day of the election.”
As you’ll see, there is no specific educational requirement. While elitists and so-called intellectuals would say that this is the reason why there are “bootantes”, an insulting term to minimize the civil liberties of less economically privileged Filipinos, the real reason is that educational attainment is a huge barrier of entry. And when you are talking about representing the country’s best legislative interests, these barriers are a way of keeping the privileged in power.
Senator Manny Pacquiao finished his elementary school education in Saavedra Saway Elementary School, General Santos City. He did not graduate high school until 2007 – when he was 29 years old. He did this on his own initiative – his career as a boxer certainly didn’t require the degree. Even his aspirations as a Representative, which he realized with his election to the 15th Congress in 2010, didn’t need the degree.
Extreme poverty forced Pacquiao to drop his educational pursuits and join the workforce. At 14, he had to leave his own home because his mother could not support her 6 children.
But by talent, determination, and incredible luck, Manny Pacquiao reformed his future. He is a world-champion boxer, a former Congressman, and now, a Senator.
So why is it so hard for some netizens to accept that this man is actually capable of earning a college degree? Why do they have to tear down his successes?
Is it because the privileged are threatened when they see a man like Manny Pacquiao who comes from a background of hardship, succeed in the fields they thought were exclusive to them? Sure, they are fine supporting him when he is fighting with his fists in the ring. For them, this is where he can succeed.
But as soon as he aspires to foster himself intellectually, holistically, educationally – he must be faking it? He can’t actually be earning it? These same people are the ones who doubt Senator Manny Pacquiao’s right to be a legislator of the Philippines, who use him as an example of how our democracy has supposedly gone to the birds. They are angry, bitter old gatekeepers who cannot accept that Filipinos have rejected them as the ruling class.
Get off your high horses. There are more educational opportunities now more than ever. Prepare for more Manny Pacquiao’s to win elections, join board rooms, and earn medical degrees. We will support them more than you can ever push them down.
Check out this viral Facebook post which also addresses the crab attack surrounding Senator Pacquiao’s graduation:
Either way, congratulations Senator Pacquiao.