Manny Pacquiao proved that he’s a gift that keeps on giving as the fighting Senator pledged 50 million pesos ($1 million), for the construction of Daraga Community College, during his visit in Albay on Saturday.

Coming off a split-decision win over previously undefeated Keith “One Time’ Thurman, Pacquiao traveled to Legazpi City, 211 miles from Manila, to witness the first home game of the Bicol Volcanoes against the Iloilo Royals in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League – a semi-pro league founded by Pacquiao himself.

But before he attended the game, the Filipino boxing icon went to the nearby town of Daraga, where he made the million-dollar pledge to finish the construction of Daraga Community College.

Pacquiao said his harsh experience in going to school without enough money motivated him to continue helping children in need through building schools and creating scholarship programs to assist poor students.

A hero in the Philippines on and off the ring, Pacquiao has been known for his generosity.

In a 2016 interview, he admitted that he has given away over $200 million during his career; a large chunk of the money was used for the construction of 1,500 houses for the homeless in Mindanao.

Polarizing Politician

While Pacquiao’s soft spot for the poor shouldn’t be questioned at all, his outdated political views and staunch support for the Duterte administration, which allegedly authored thousands of extra-judicial killings in the country, have certainly raised brows.

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Pablo S. Torre, a Filipino columnist for ESPN and host of High Noon, said he’s torn between glorifying Manny Pacquiao the fighter for his truly remarkable accomplishment in the ring, and criticizing Pacquiao the politician for describing LGBT as lower than animals, lobbying for death penalty and siding with an alleged mass-murdering regime.

"And so when I watched him, as I did on Saturday, I see a guy who is better than I have seen in eight years.

I see him as a guy who is ready to go fight Floyd Mayweather again. I see him as an inspirational athlete.

But what he said outside the ring is horrendous. He said gay people are lower than animals. He supports a regime that has been accused of, subsequently denied thousands upon thousands of executions in its war on drugs. That is the stuff that I’d like to dissociate from a hero but he’s also literally a sitting Senator, so I have been left with a feeling that I can't really enjoy all of this stuff,” Torre said on ESPN High Noon.

The good and the bad for Pacquiao

Pacquiao is a genuinely good guy. After experiencing severe poverty at an early age, he knows that education, regardless of an individual’s athletic prowess, will always be the key to future success. This characteristic is certainly worthy of praise and adulation.

On the other hand, Pacquiao’s stance on LGBT issues, the death penalty, and extra-judicial killings has somewhat diminished his heroic image.

The type of hero people would like to have in these tumultuous times is someone who champions life and equality. Pacquiao, the politician, is far from that image.

Then again, Pacquiao is a human being, and humans aren’t perfect. There’s a good and bad side of it. Perhaps, the best thing to do is to relish Pacquiao’s accomplishment as a fighter and guide him to the right path as a confused Senator in the Philippines.

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