(Editor’s note: Below is the statement released by Mutya ng Pilipinas Melbourne organiser, Choy Symes in response to the issues raised by Mutya supporter, Jeremy Emana.)
Filipino Community Clubs are proud of its record of bringing together the Filipino community in Melbourne to showcase the best attributes of our people by holding the annual Beauty Pageant and numerous charity events. This year we are honoured to host the Mutya ng Pilipinas Melbourne in selecting Melbourne’s representatives to the prestigious competition which will be held in Manila on 19 July to 18 August 2014.
Last 14 June 2014, after a series of screening processes, we crowned our first Mutya ng Pilipinas Melbourne who we are confident will bring honour to us by having a chance to win the crown in the Philippines and by promoting the values we hold dear. Hence, in the next few days, we are gathering experts to help prepare our representatives. We believe that after a competitive pageant we should move forward and claim glory not just for a single person, but for our community.
Unfortunately, after the coronation, we have learned of numerous complaints and criticism being circulated to bring disrepute to the winner, divide our community and derail the efforts for everyone to rally behind Melbourne’s representative.
For the record, all the candidates were made to sign an agreement incidental with their application form for Mutya ng Pilipinas Melbourne that, among other things, they will abide by the rules and be gracious enough to accept and respect the judge’s decision.
It was no surprise that a non-contestant would eventually come out in the open to challenge the result. We do not wish to give credence to the complaint since he is not a party in-interest. However, considering that this now affects our sense of fairness and also the credibility of the winner after a series online bashing and bullying of the winner, we feel it is our obligation to set the record straight so that falsehood will not triumph and that our deserving representatives will have no cloud of doubt as they compete in the Philippines in our behalf.
We are thankful that The Philippine Times has given us the opportunity to respond to the following issues:
First, the complainant makes issue of the fact that we measured the height of the candidates prior to the coronation night.
It is common knowledge that every pageant has a set of physical requirements such as height as a qualification for contestants. This was made known to the candidates prior to entering the competition. Although they stated their height in their application form, we asked independent individuals to do the actual measurement for the candidates to witness so they will have no doubts as to the qualification of their fellow contestants.
Second, the complainant makes issue of the special awards given during our various events.
During the induction and before the coronation night, we gave to the contestants their copies of the criteria for judging determined at various events: 15% Swimsuit; 20% Video Presentation; 15% Talent; 15% Filipino National Costume; 15% Evening Gown; 20% Question and Answer.
The candidates were also informed that the following special awards, determined at events prior to the coronation night, were to be given but would have no bearing on the final result: Special Award for Rio Costume, Beach Body, Ms. Photogenic, Most Popular, Darling of the Press, Ms. Friendship, Best in Catwalk, and Most number of guests during the events.
The purpose of this was to provide more opportunities for the candidates to be recognised for their efforts and gain confidence as they prepared for main competition. This is being done in various tilts in what is called as pre-pageant competitions.
Third, the complainant makes issue of the fact that the photos of the contestants were not posted online at the same time.
This is a misinformed statement. All of the photos were posted on the same date 11 March. However, Sharina Timbayan and Pauline Edralin asked me to delete their photos and replace these with new photos for personal reasons. Pauline sent me her photo on 12 March and was posted on the same date. Sharina’s photo was not posted until 24 March 2014 because of the delay in providing photo of her choice.
Fourth, the complainant alleges that the organisers and judges are ‘affiliated’ with a parent of one of the contestants.
As a small community, we know most of the Filipinos in Melbourne. In fact, we get contestants by personally inviting them or asking permission from their parents. To make issue of the fact that we know Filipinos is preposterous.
Fifth, the complaint alleges that one of the judges told the winner that she was going to win. It is common for the organisers and judges, not just in Mutya ng Pilipinas Melbourne, to praise the candidates for their efforts, encourage them to do their best and congratulate them by saying “You’re all winners already”, “everyone is a winner”, ‘“you’re going to win”, “I told you, you will win”. Such kind gestures should not be maliciously interpreted as favouring one over the other.
Despite these explanations, it is expected that there would be continued resentment or a failure to accept the result. We respect that. But we also respect the decision that our esteemed judges made. To end the argument and counter argument, we are proving the scores of the contestants as well as their corresponding scores in the time held wisdom that you cannot argue with numbers:
Having dispensed with our duty to respond to the issues raised, we hope you can join us in helping our own Mutya ng Pilipinas Melbourne winner Kim Fyfe and 1st Runner Up Pauline Edralin as they represent our community in the Mutya ng Pilipinas pageant in Manila on 19 July to 8 August 2014.
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