MANILA, Philippines – As the Miss Philippines-Earth 2012 pageant draws near, the candidates shared their views on pressing environmental issues in the country.
This year’s pageant aligns itself with the United Nations General Assembly’s declaration of 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All, which aims to ensure universal access to modern energy services.
On ANC on Monday, four Miss Philippines-Earth candidates suggested ways on how the government can address the energy crisis in Mindanao, as well as mining-related issues in the country.
Samantha Purvor of San Juan City said the government should push for renewable energy sources through the use of solar panels and wind turbines.
“I understand that people have an issue with regard to cost, but at the same time, it’s sustainable and it’s also better in the long run,” Purvor told “[email protected]” host Ginger Conejero, who was a runner-up in the Miss Philippines-Earth pageant in 2006.
Glenna Christina Duch, who represents the province of Negros Oriental, chimed in, saying: “Since I visit Mindanao often since my mom is from there, I saw first-hand the power shortage. And I think it’s not just about renewable energy, but also about being energy-efficient because the problem is not just on shortage but also on waste.
“So now, I think people should learn more about energy efficiency and think about having energy that can sustain people in the future.”
Duch added that she is determined to make a difference through the pageant, following the natural disasters that hit her province.
“People did not think that something like that could happen to my province, and nothing like that ever happened before,” she said, referring to the earthquake and floods that hit Negros Oriental last year.
Dianne Dreyfus of Bacolod City, meanwhile, was humble enough to admit that she has yet to make a stand about mining in the country, saying she is still “learning in the pageant.”
“I’m very open to learn more,” said Dreyfus, who grew up in Australia and the United States.
But she was quick to add: “Coming from Australia and America, I want to push for waste segregation, basically a cleaner and greener Philippines.”
Purvor, for her part, said about mining in the Philippines: “We have to grasp the idea that mining is something that we do need. But it’s also important that we have to take responsibility and be more careful with how we manipulate the environment so mining can be utilized properly.”
With the growing popularity of the Department of Tourism’s “It’s more fun in the Philippines” campaign, the Miss Philippines-Earth candidates were also asked on how the country should be promoted to foreigners.
For Duch, the government should take advantage of the Philippines’ rich natural resources.
“The Philippines ranks 17th in biodiversity… it is a beautiful country and we are rich in resources. As a matter of fact, we even sit at the center of the coral triangle, and 500 of 700 of the world’s species of coral are found in the Philippines,” she said.
“If only each of us would learn how to preserve our culture, then tourism will really rise, and that will really bring a lot of opportunities for boosting the economy of the Philippines.
“I appeal to all governments to take care of our resources, especially my province, where we’re rich in marine biodiversity, we have Apo island. If we just take of that, we can see how the Philippines can rise.”
Purvor and Stephany Stefanowitz of Quezon City, on the other hand, agreed that the best asset of the Philippines is its people.
“We are a very friendly and beautiful people. Friendly and warm. And I’m really proud of that,” Stefanowitz said.
“We’re a very resilient people. We’re very dedicated to what we want, and we’re very capable as well. Throughout the world, it’s been proven that Filipinos are very talented. And once we’re into something, we really go for it,” Purvor added.
Dreyfus, meanwhile, noted that the country needs to promote its cuisine more, saying that it is “the best.”
“I love the food here. Coming from Australia and America, I must say Filipino food is the best,” she said.
The advocacy-driven Miss Philippines-Earth beauty pageant will be held on May 27 at the SM Mall of Asia Center Stage in Pasay City.