Don't hold Miss U pageant in PH, organizers told


Posted at Oct 10 2016 07:47 PM

Don't hold Miss U pageant in PH, organizers told 1
Miss Philippines Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach reacts as she is called back to the stage to be crowned Miss Universe during the international pageant held December 2015 in Las Vegas. Steve Marcus, Reuters

MANILA – Leaders of various women’s groups on Monday released a letter sent to the Miss Universe organizing committee asking that it reconsider holding the pageant in the Philippines in January 2017. 

The petitioners said to hold the pageant in the Philippines next year would serve as a “reward” to what they believe was the “objectionable, scandalous, and demeaning sexist attitude demonstrated by the newly elected leaders of our country, by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, and his cohorts towards womankind.”

The petitioners include prominent figures, such as Miss International 1970 titleholder Aurora Pijuan, former Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, former Commission on Human Rights chairperson Etta Rosales, former presidential peace adviser Ging Deles, Black and White Movement convenor Leah Navarro, and prominent Fil-Am community leader Loida Nicholas Lewis.

The petition was sent as Duterte government pursues its controversial war on drugs, including stopping the drug trade in the New Bilibid Prison. The president has alleged that the drug trade in the national penitentiary was tolerated by former Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and used to finance her senatorial campaign. 

De Lima, however, has decried what she labelled as harassment and “slut shaming” by Duterte’s men, who threatened to release her alleged sex videos which would supposedly establish her romantic ties to her former driver accused of receiving Bilibid drug money.

The petition, a copy of which was posted on the Facebook page of Annie Serrano, had the accompanying hashtag “#everywoman”, which was used by netizens supportive of De Lima.

The petitioners noted that in recent months, “chauvinism, brutal shaming, rape jokes and a sweeping disregard for women as persons deserving not merely of a token, but true, respect has been exhibited by the President of the Philippines with his salacious and sexist comments and treatment of female reporters and opposition figures, which has carried over to his allies in the Philippine Congress.”

“To hold the Miss Universe Pageant in the Philippines at this time would serve as a reward of this intolerable behavior and excuse such behavior. It would reinforce a troubling trend in our society,” the petitioners said.

“Do not hold Miss Universe in the Philippines. Be a partner for the liberation and not the subjugation of women. Take your pageant elsewhere and do not reward a regime that is trying to turn back the clock as far as women's causes are concerned.”