Beauty queen-turned actress Kylie Verzosa has remained supportive of reigning Binibining Pilipinas International Hannah Arnold despite the cancellation of the Miss International pageant this year due to rising cases of COVID-19.
During the virtual press conference of her movie “Bekis on the Run”, Verzosa said it was unfortunate that the Japanese government did not allow the Miss International organization to hold the pageant this year, its second postponement since 2020.
“'Yung Miss International, sobrang close ako sa organization at alam ko 'yung hirap na napagdaanan nila to push this pageant for the past years. Sobra, sobra 'yung mga effort na ginawa nila,” said Verzosa, who won the title in 2016.
“Pero, unfortunately, 'yung Japan government na 'yung hindi pumayag for the pageant itself. So medyo restricted tayo dun, pero siyempre, it’s still the safety of the girls na kino-consider. And 'yung Japan government na 'yung may say dito,” she added.
Asked about her advice to Arnold, who initially felt upset upon learning the postponement of the competition, Verzosa said it might be a good chance for the beauty queen to train more and mold herself as a fitting winner of Miss International.
“Ang advise ko kay Hannah, keep on doing what you’re doing. This is the perfect opportunity. Then, you realize you have more time to train, to do better, to become better, to form yourself as Miss International,” she said.
In a statement released on the Miss International website, Akemi Shimomura, chairperson of the International Cultural Association, announced the decision not to push through with the competition.
“Taking into consideration the health and safety issues, as well as the ongoing global impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have come to a conclusion to cancel this year’s Miss International 2021 pageant, which was originally scheduled to be held this fall,” the statement said.
The organization apologized and asked for understanding in light of the “unusual circumstance which is beyond our control.”
The 60th edition of the Miss International will be moved to 2022 but no specific details have been revealed. Arnold was supposed to represent the Philippines in the pageant in Japan.
Arnold took to Instagram to share that she would spend her reign to grow more, focus on her advocacy work, and “pursue the goal of ‘cheering all women.’”
“Let’s remind ourselves that a new month means a new beginning, a new mindset and a new result,” she said.
The Philippines has claimed the Miss International title six times: Gemma Cruz (1964), Aurora Pijuan (1970), Melanie Marquez (1979), Lara Quigaman (2005), Bea Santiago (2013), and Verzosa (2016).