MANILA, Philippines – Boxing champion and Sarangani Congressman Manny Pacquiao defended himself from critics who lambasted him for buying a P25-million yacht.
He sought understanding from the public amid the ongoing relief drive for survivors of tropical storm Sendong in Mindanao and parts of the Visayas.
“Nagpadala naman tayo nang tulong sa Cagayan [de Oro] (We sent help to Cagayan de Oro),” he told ABS-CBN correspondent Jay Dayupay.
Pacquiao clarified that he bought the Italian yacht before Sendong struck southern Philippines last week.
The 8-division champion visited Cagayan de Oro on Friday to personally hand out relief goods to Sendong victims.
“Nagpunta tayo ng Cagayan de Oro para tumulong at magbigay sa kanila ng inspirasyon (We went to Cagayan de Oro to extend help and provide inspiration),” he said.
The boxing champion was hit by some netizens for allegedly being "insensitive" for buying expensive items at a time when thousands of people are suffering due to the damages caused by Sendong.
Pacquiao said he sees nothing wrong in buying a boat for his family.
The money used for the yacht came from his earnings as a boxer and businessman, he said.
“Pera ko naman ‘yon, hindi ko naman ninakaw ‘yon at pinagpawisan ko ‘yon, sana maintindihan nila (I used my own money, I did not steal and I worked for it. I hope they understand),” he said.
Pacquiao also decided to cancel his family’s planned Christmas vacation trip to the US.
He said they will spend Christmas in General Santos City instead.