MANILA - The organizers of the Miss Universe Philippines pageant assured the public that they are following all protocols and guidelines to ensure the health and safety of their candidates and production staff.
"The Miss Universe Philippines' Organization's top priority continues to be the health and safety of all our candidates. We remain committed to ensuring that we follow all the protocols and guidelines set forth by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID)," they said in a statement.
The organizers also thanked the local government of Baguio City for accomodating the candidates and for allowing the pageant to be held in the city.
"We have consistently coordinated with Baguio City officials to ensure that we follow their rigorous protocols to preserve its status as a COVID-free city," the Organization added.
All the candidates underwent swab testing at St. Luke's Medical Center, the organizers also said.
The organizers also thanked all the candidates, including two who pulled out of the competition due to COVID-19.
"While it is unfortunate and heartbreaking to see some of our candidates leave the competition, we thank them for being a part of the Miss Universe Philippines family. We salute their bravery and courage as they go through this difficult time and rest assured, we will continue to provide all the help and support they need," the organizers said.
Sorsogon representative Maria Isabela Galeria earlier said that she first experienced symptoms of the virus last September 27, leading to her getting tested and self-isolating.
Galeria was followed by Vincy Vacalares of Cagayan de Oro, who has also withdrawn after contracting COVID-19 last Wednesday.
The Miss Universe Philippines pageant is set to be held in Baguio City on October 25.
- with a report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News