Philippine senator Manny Pacquiao has continued to make numerous public appearances throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, as he believes that it is important for world leaders to be visible during the crisis.
“If you are a leader, you have to be a frontliner,” he told the Manila Bulletin, adding that he is personally “not afraid to die” from coronavirus if it means helping his country fight the pandemic. He specifically expressed concerns of a rise in looting if people experiencing poverty and homelessness aren’t taken care of.
“You have to lead and let people see that you are with them,” he continued. “I grew up poor. I know what they feel.”
ABS-CBN reported last week that Pacquiao had donated 600,000 face masks to people on the front lines of the pandemic, including healthcare workers, medical researchers, Department of Health staff, and national police. He also partnered with Jack Ma, founder of Chinese online retailer Alibaba, to donate 50,000 coronavirus testing kits. At the time of writing, there have been 462 reported cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, and 33 deaths.
The senator began a six-year term in 2016 after being elected to the Philippines’ House of Representatives in 2010. He juggles his busy senate schedule with a highly successful career in boxing: he recently won the WBA’s “super” welterweight champion when he defeated the previously unbeaten Keith Thurman in Las Vegas.
Pacquiao was then expected to go up against Mikey Garcia, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter or Errol Spence Jr in July., but the ongoing coronavirus situation has halted his return to the ring.