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Women’s groups reject staging of Miss Universe in PH

Women advocates in the country have opposed to the staging of the Miss Universe 2016 beauty pageant in the Philippines due to the “objectionable, scandalous, and demeaning sexist attitude demonstrated by the newly elected leaders of our country.”

“We appeal to you as organizers of the Miss Universe Pageant to reconsider your decision to hold the 2017 pageant in Manila. 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,” according to a letter sent to the Miss Universe Organization recently.

Among those who signed the petition include Dinky Soliman, Aurora Pijuan, Janet Pimentel-Paredes, Karina Constantino-David, Leah Navarro, Vicky Garchitorena, Margarita Holmes, Karen Ta-nada, Aleta Tolentino, Paulynn Paredes-Sicam, etc.

“We understand that you already have concerns over issues of political instability and security, and with the Philippines not yet paying the hosting fee for the event. We however believe there is a more fundamental reason why you should not hold the event in the Philippines;”

“This reason is 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. Filipino society has always granted a great amount of freedom and respect to women, but at the same time the gains of womankind in the Philippines have been hard won;”

“True gender equality in terms not only of the law but how laws are applied, and in terms of the attitudes of men towards women, still has a long way to go;”

“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. It would make your organization a partner to these backward and dangerous steps which are serious violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women;” the letter also said.

The Department of Tourism (DoT) has issued a statement in reaction to the appeal of the women’s groups to reconsider the staging of the pageant here.

“The government’s decision to accept the offer of Miss Universe Organization to stage the spectacular pageant in the Philippines has gained an overwhelming public support, especially among Filipino women and their families,” the DoT said.