Filipino boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is looking for a job he can sink his teeth into – and it’s not in the ring, nor even in the country’s Congress. It’s the governorship of his home province in the impoverished southern Philippines.
Pacquiao, 33 years old and reckoned by many to be the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world, has been preparing for a post-boxing career for a while. He has twice run for Congress, losing in 2007 and securing a seat in 2010.
But Pacquiao feels he isn’t cut out for sitting around in the Philippines’ legislature and is now eyeing a job where he can get out in the field and do what he describes as real work.
Enter next year’s contest for the governorship of Sarangani.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, Pacquiao said he feels he is better fitted to an executive role.
"Being a legislator isn’t hard work, it’s kind of light," he said. "But an executive position is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I feel I’m better suited to that. I feel I can do many things for my province."
Building up some executive experience, too, would be useful if he one day plans to run for a higher office: the presidency.
Pacquiao is often rumored to be looking at a tilt at the presidential elections in 2022, when he will have passed the constitutional 40 year old age requirement on running for the Philippines’ highest office.
He already has a strong following in many parts of the Philippines, generously using his multi-million earning power in the ring to fund school scholarships and other programs to help local people rise up from the poverty which plagued Pacquiao as a young man in Sarangani.
A stint as a host of a game-show on Philippine television station GMA Network is also broadening his range.
Pacquiao is learning, too, about being in the spotlight after Philippine tax officials filed a criminal complaint against him for allegedly failing to submit tax documents. Prosecutors haven’t decided if there is enough evidence to pursue a court case, and Pacquiao describes the complaint as "plain and simple harassment."