Miss PH Earth pageant disqualifies 3 candidates due to height requirements

Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2022 02:44 AM | Updated as of Jul 15 2022 11:29 AM

Designer Angela Okol (from left) of Surigao, singer-model Cess Cruz of Antipolo and model Renee Coleen Sta. Teresa of Batangas were disqualified Thursday after they fell short of the MPE’s height requirement. Handout
Designer Angela Okol (from left) of Surigao, singer-model Cess Cruz of Antipolo and model Renee Coleen Sta. Teresa of Batangas were disqualified Thursday after they fell short of the MPE’s height requirement. Handout

MANILA -- (UPDATED) Midway to its finals, controversy hit the 22nd edition of the Miss Philippines Earth (MPE) pageant with the disqualification of three candidates due to a strict height requirement.

Designer Angela Okol of Surigao, singer-model Cess Cruz of Antipolo, and model Renee Coleen Sta. Teresa of Batangas were disqualified Thursday after they fell short of the MPE’s height requirement. 

It was a twist that surprised pageant fans considering that the ladies in question, along with 35 other delegates, have already competed in the virtual preliminary competitions of the pageant. 
 
MPE organizer Lorraine Schuck told ABS-CBN News that the organization stands by its decision. 

“The Miss Philippines Earth pageant has its own criteria. Prospective candidates must meet those requirements including the standard 5-foot-4 minimum height requirement,” said Schuck, who has kept this standard for 22 years, even as other local competitions have dropped the height standard in recent years. 

“I am sad at nakakahinayang talaga kasi ang gaganda nila and they’re bright but we also have to be fair with other candidates who have complied with the requirements,” Schuck added, also stressing the fact that all 38 delegates were deemed eligible after they filled up their application forms with MPE, containing their vital personal information, including educational background, age and height. 

Actual height measurements were done on the candidates at the MPE base at the Carousel Mansion in Mandaluyong Thursday, prior to the much-anticipated announcement of the final top 20 candidates this Friday night. They will go on to compete in the final rounds and onsite coronation of the Miss Philippines Earth on August 6 in Coron, Palawan. 

It will be the first MPE coronation with a live audience after two years of virtual competitions. 

Schuck added: “We thank Angela Okol of Del Carmen, Surigao; Cess Cruz of Antipolo City; and Renee Coleen Sta. Teresa of Ibaan, Batangas for their hard work in supporting the MPE and its advocacies and promoting their respective municipalities through their eco-tourism videos.

“Their videos will remain in our site and online platform and will still be considered for special awards.”

In her social-media post, Sta. Teresa said she is heartbroken by the unexpected development. 

“It has been an honor to be your Miss Philippines Earth-Ibaan, Batangas. Know that even without the crown, I would still embody the values of a true woman of the Earth,” she said, also citing the efforts and sacrifices of her team.

In her post, Cruz rued “the time, costs, and efforts she dedicated, only to be told that she is ineligible before the announcement of the Top 20 delegates."

“I deeply apologize for not meeting everyone’s expectations, and I respect their final decision,” she said. “To my fellow Antipoleños, my family, friends, loved ones, and supporters, I would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for the support and encouragement in my journey.”

Considered a Top 20 frontrunner, Okol also shared her dismay over the turn of events. However, she clarified that she is grateful for the opportunity and she has nothing against MPE . 

“This is not the end. After all, when one door closes, another one opens,” said the designer who was one of the Miss Universe Philippines 2021 candidates representing Siargao. 

Meanwhile, veteran pageantologist and beauty contest judge Norman Tinio said the flap could have been avoided if all parties exercised due diligence in fulfilling MPE requirements. 

“In this age of inclusivity, does height still form part of significant requirements on whether a candidate should be allowed to join or not?“ he told ABS-CBN News Friday. 

“If so, then it is the equal responsibility of the organizers to double check on the veracity of information provided in application forms. And early on at that. There is always a way of confirming accuracy even through virtual means.”

Schuck also told ABS-CBN News that despite the clamor of pageant fans and netizens, she is not scrapping for now MPE’s height requirement.