EVEN the deadly coronavirus pandemic is bringing out the best in the Filipino people.
And the World Boxing Council (WBC), one of the oldest and most prestigious sports organizations in the world, is the first to recognize this innate trait of the Filipinos
Last Aug. 10, the WBC unanimously voted to present the WBC “Heroes for Humanity” awards to boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra and three other Filipinos for their “acts of selfless heroism in these challenging times”.
“We received over 200 nominations for the WBC Heroes for Humanity Awards and each of those was dedicated, remarkable and compassionate,” said the WBC, headed by president Mauricio Sulaiman, Jr. in a statement.
“Reading these letters brought hope and tears, and a belief that in the end, we are one world, one people with one goal; to make life better for each other. That when the call goes out, we leave any personal differences behind, and become an army of angels.”
The WBC said the action was inspired by world champions globally, but “none better or more giving than Senator Manny Pacquiao. He not only received a medal of humanity but also our love and thanks, and those of his compatriots.”
The WBC noted that Pacquiao provides food, money and even buses for those in need. There is no greater hero and role model."
Sharing the award with Pacquiao is Mitra.
“He (Mitra) requested and then compassionately guided the funds that came from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), providing many boxers, trainers and others in the community urgently needed help,” said the WBC.
“At the time of writing, a total of 536 combat sports licensees were given AICS aid in the National Capital Region, Cavite, Batangas, Rizal, Laguna, and some areas in Northern Luzon. Cash assistance for the remaining beneficiaries is being processed by the DSWD.”
Aside from Pacquiao and Mitra, the other Filipino recipients of the coveted award are Mercito Gesta and intenational referees Bruce McTavish and Bobby Bridges.
The five Filipinos were part of the 220 awardees from the Philippines, Italy, Spain, USA, UK, Thailand, Albania, Russia, Ireland, Chile, Mexico and Egypt chosen in the WBC three-month search for "Heroes for Humanity" which ended last July 31.
All the awardees will receive WBC certificate of recognition and personalized medals with the inscription “Learn From Yesterday, Live For Today, Hope For Tomorrow” and “Thank You for Keeping The World Safe – COVID-19 2020 Hero Of The World.”
They will receive the awards from no less than Sulaiman and WBC international secretary/WBC Cares chairperson Jill Diamond during the virtual WBC 58th World Convention ‘We Are The World’ in Aug. 12-15.
“It’s a three-month process. Kami naman po sa GAB ay naatasan ng pamahalaan na gabayan ang ating mga pro athletes na apektado rin ng naganap na lockdown. Trabaho namin ito. Hopefully, nagampanan namin ng tama,” said Mitra.
“Nagpapasalamat kami sa WBC dahil kabilang tayo sa binigyan nila ng parangal,” added the three-time lawmaker from Palawan.
“The WBC heard about the money that GAB requested and was given by DSWD to each boxer in Luzon and nearby areas. Of the total of 1,524 boxers, 536 were given funds.There were 336 beneficiaries from NCR who received cash assistance of P5,000."
There were 116 from outside NCR who received the same amount. There were 84 who received P3,000 each. A total of 846 are scheduled for payout. The funds were given with a box of food, rice and grocery goods by DSWD.”
The Angeles City-based McTavish and Angat, Bulacan-based Bridges were cited by the WBC for their relief operation in Angeles City and Bulacan.
Gesta, 32, now based in US, joined humanitarian operations and delivered foods and medical supplies to frontliners in Kaiser Permanente Irvine, Banfield Pet Hospital in La Jolla.