Oct 12, 2016

    Duterte's Manila should not host Miss Universe

    THERE is a petition circulating online addressed to the Miss Universe Organising Committee, appealing to the members to reconsider their decision to hold the pageant in Manila early next year.

    Last I checked, some 30 petitioners have signed the appeal and organisers are continuing to solicit signatures.

    Here are excerpts of the petition: "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.

    "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 Manila at this time would serve as a reward of this intolerable behaviour and excuse such behaviour."

    All the signatories are concerned about sending the wrong message to the Duterte administration on the treatment of women under the 100-day-old regime.

    To hold the Miss Universe pageant in Manila is to open the organisers to accusations that it pays lip service to empowerment and equality that the Miss Universe organisation - after it bought the franchise from Donald Trump - has touted as one of the principal goals of the contest.

    That the current title-holder, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, is a Filipino who has so far done a creditable job of representing her country and her people makes the holding of the pageant here at this time, all the more objectionable.

    It would negate all the gains of her victory, and would be seen as rewarding the misogyny and crudity shown by our national leaders.

    The Miss Universe organisation is still reeling from Mr Trump's crude remarks against former Miss Universe Alicia Machado.

    During the first US presidential debate, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton recalled that Ms Machado became the subject of much public abuse from Mr Trump when she began putting on weight years after her reign.

    He called her "Miss Piggy" and "Miss Housekeeping" because she was a Latina.

    I wonder: If the pageant is held here, will Du-dirty manage to outdo Mr Trump in all his "glory"?