Bill Clinton on Manny Pacquiao: 'He’s a great guy and he’s a great role model in his country'

Photo: Chris Farina - Top Rank

Despite completely opposing political views in many ways, Bill Clinton told Jimmy Kimmel that he hopes Manny Pacquiao rises through the Filipino political ranks.

Bill Clinton and Manny Pacquiao were both guests on last night's edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live. Clinton was likely there to keep Clinton profile high as the seemingly inevitable Hillary Clinton in 2016 campaign ramps up, though he did refuse to talk about his wife. While Pacquiao was there to promote his April 12 rematch with Timothy Bradley on HBO pay-per-view.

Clinton found time in between reassuring Kimmel that there are no aliens at Area 51 and discussing his vegan diet to briefly discuss Pacquiao's political career. Clinton said, ""I hope he goes right on up the ladder. He’s a great guy and he’s a great role model in his country. He’s very strong and honest.""

It is worth remembering that Pacquiao, a member of the Filipino congress, has come out strongly against safe sex education and the increased availability of contraceptive measures such as condoms in his country:

Mr Pacquiao, who was elected to the Filipino parliament last year, has sided with the local Church against a new government bill to introduce free contraception and information about safe sex.

"God said go forth and multiply," he said, after a meeting with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. "He did not say go and have just one or two children."

The boxer said that he would never have been born to become the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter had his parents used birth control.

A paper published by the Journal of The International AIDS Society in 2010, just one year prior to the above quote, stated:
The Philippines has the lowest documented rates of condom use in Asia, at 20-30% among groups at highest risk of HIV (including sex workers). This is concerning since the vast majority of HIV transmission in the Philippines is through sexual contact. A survey published in 2003 found that 63% of male respondents said that they had never used a condom. Condom use among any extramarital partners is also rare.

There are various factors that may contribute to low condom use in the Philippines. A common perception is that condoms are only for birth control and not for protection against HIV and other STIs. This perception is reinforced by the view that condoms are discouraged by the Roman Catholic Church. Government family planning programmes have policies against supplying condoms to unmarried people.

The cost of condoms is also relatively high. The majority of the supply of condoms is from international aid agencies (e.g., USAID). Many female sex workers assert that "knowing" their client was reason enough to not use a condom. Filipino women also tend to believe that the decision to use a condom is up to the man. Men tend to feel the need to maintain their machismo image to the extent that they refuse to practice safe sex. Culturally-sensitive but influential promotion of condoms appears to be an obvious gap in the Philippines HIV/AIDS response.
Pacquiao has also been criticized for coming out against gay marriage when he stated, "God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they so are in love with each other...It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old."

On top of all of that, Pacquiao also faces tax evasion allegations in both the United States and the Philippines.

So, maybe Clinton should slow down a little bit on his hopes that someone with political views that fly in the face of his own ascend the political ranks.

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