At the recently-concluded Miss Universe Philippines 2021 preliminaries, the candidates got asked a very interesting question: “If you have the power to do ONE of the following: eliminate poverty and hunger, a government with no graft and corruption, or solve all environmental problems, which would you choose?”
While two of them focused on solving environmental issues in the Philippines, most of their answers touched on the other options: poverty alleviation and the eradication of government corruption. For them, such could have a ripple effect and pave the way for more solutions to the country’s most pressing problems.
It can be noted that in the country, the full year 2018 poverty incidence among the population was at 16.6%. “This translates to 17.6 million Filipinos who lived below the poverty threshold estimated at PhP 10,727, on average, for a family of five per month in 2018,” according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
The candidates who would choose to eliminate hunger and poverty mostly pointed out that it's one of the best ways to help underprivileged individuals, especially children, to improve their health, achieve their dreams, and reach their full potential.
“I think the closest thing to my heart is eliminating hunger. Because coming from Masbate, there are a lot of children out there who need nourishment. I think that’s one of the biggest things to focus on as a privileged person. I’m not ashamed of my privilege, but I feel like I should do more in my whole life,” said Masbate bet Kisses Delavin.
For Miss Taguig Katrina Dimaranan, through poverty elimination, “these people can be integrated back into society and these people can turn into someone who can bring positive joy and positive light into the world, and also be able to create change that we need right now.”
"I would choose to eliminate hunger and poverty because, for me, the people are the priority. Everything else will follow if everyone is well taken care of," said Megan Julia Roa Digal of Bukidnon.
For some MUP hopefuls, however, a government with no graft and corruption must be top of mind. The Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission has just put up a new inter-agency task force in an effort to counter graft and corruption in the country. According to a BusinessWorld report, it “comes after senators launched an inquiry into the government’s procurement of overpriced medical goods from Pharmally Pharmaceutical Corp.,” whose executives have been associated with various crimes.
Rousanne Marie Bernos of San Juan said, “I believe that as people, we have so much power to do more, and if we can start with the people in power to do things—maybe better do things transparently and do things with more accountability—then perhaps we can address all the other issues that are affecting us today.”
Pangasinan’s Maureen Wroblewitz pointed out the same thing. If such is attained, she said, “we would see a government that takes care of its people, we would see a government who prioritizes the safety, the health care, and then, of course, our environment, which are all very important.”
For her part, Davao del Sur’s bet Jedidah Hefervez Korinihona took the chance to highlight the importance of being a registered voter for the upcoming elections. “I really need to amplify the fact that we need to vote not just for strong leaders, but leaders who possess the qualities of wise leadership.” Filipinos have until Sept. 30 to register to vote for the May 2022 national polls.
The Miss Universe Philippines coronation night was originally scheduled for Sept. 25, but it has been postponed to Sept. 30 in the Province of Bohol due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.
Screenshots from the MUPH preliminaries livestream on KTX