The Miss Universe pageant is an expensive tool meant to deceive the public into thinking the country is peaceful and stable, a woman’s rights group said on Wednesday.
“The Miss Universe pageant is an expensive exercise to lull the people and the international audience into a false sense of well-being and celebration,” Gabriela party-list Representative Arlene Brosas said in a press conference.
The pageant “protects the image of peace and stability” to cover up rising protests of women, especially against exploitation, Brosas said.
She claimed that the event glosses over issues such as unfair trade relations between rich nations and other countries, which are overlooked in favor of using the candidates to market products and services.
Brosas also slammed the Department of Tourism’s handling of the event, and urged the government to put forward other initiatives for the country's development.
"Ayaw po natin iyong ginawa na ito ay pinackage ng DOT para tayong lurid tourist destination for cheap and easily exploited women. Women will continue to protest this deceptive pageant and push forward the real agenda of peace and justice,” she said.
Gabriela also previously protested against the country’s hosting of the Miss Universe pageant in 1994. The protest was then led by beauty queen-turned-activist Nelia Sancho.
Meanwhile, ACT Teacher's party-list Representative Antonio Tinio expressed support for Gabriela and recalled that the late Maita Gomez, also a former beauty queen, joined the revolutionary movement for the same reasons. Gomez eventually became Makabayan president.
The Gabriela Women's Party is set to launch a protest against the country's hosting of the Miss Universe Pageant on pageant day, January 30.