"Unfair for all the Filipino women competing."
Ito ang pananaw ni Miss Universe Philippines 2014 Mary Jean “MJ” Lastimosa, 32, kaugnay ng isyu tungkol sa maruming kalakaran umano sa local beauty pageant industry.
Tatlong beses sumali si MJ sa national pageant bago kinoronahang Miss Universe Philippines noong 2014.
Nakaabot naman siya sa Top 10 ng Miss Universe pageant ng parehong taon.
Noong nakaraang linggo, muling nahalungkat ang tungkol sa “bentahan” at “shady side” diumano sa malalaking male and female beauty pageants.
Ito ay matapos ipalabas ang dokumentaryo ng Undercover Asia, isang Singapore-based investigative TV show.
Sa episode nitong “The Hidden Side of Philippines Beauty Pageants,” tinalakay ang diumano’y indecent proposals at sexual exploitations sa mga pageant candidates sa Pilipinas.
Itinampok sa documentary si Bb. Pilipinas-World 2008 Janina San Miguel.
Dito ay isiniwalat ni Janina na may mga indecent proposals na P3 million para sa one-night stand, at P25 million kapag pumayag ang beauty queen na maibahay ng benefactor.
MJ ASKED IF SHE GOT INDECENT PROPOSALS
Kasunod ng pagsisiwalat ni Janine, may mga umusisa raw kay MJ kung siya ba ay nakatanggap ng indecent proposals noong titleholder pa siya.
“I watched the whole thing actually,” sabi ni MJ tungkol sa documentary.
“Actually, I’ve never heard of the documentary until some, few fans comment on my Instagram and asking me if I accepted indecent proposal in exchange of millions, and I was very surprised.
“Sa comments section, ‘Isa ka ba dun sa tumanggap?’
Reaksiyon daw ni MJ: “’Ha?! I would have had a Jaguar or a mansion. Hahaha!’”
Nagsalita si MJ sa Facebook Live ng The Philippine Pageantry, na pinamagatang Ashtie Nights, nitong Linggo, June 14.
Ayon kay MJ, hindi tamang sabihing ang lahat ng sumasali sa beauty pageants ay may ganoong karanasan.
Saad niya, “For me, it’s also… yes, maybe there’s a reality of those… the things that they were saying, kasi that’s based on their own experience.
“But I felt, like, it’s unfair for all the Filipino women who are competing too, who are actually lucky to have a group of people who are protecting them.”
Sa kaso ni MJ, noong panahon niya ay inalagaan daw siya ng kanyang naging pageant camps, gayundin ng Binibining Pilipinas organization.
“I can honestly say that in my experience in Aces and Queens, and KF [Kagandahang Flores], especially with Binibining Bilipinas...
"I was travelling all around the Philippines with a lady guard who sleeps with me even inside my room to protect me.”
Ikinalulungkot ng beauty queen na na-generalize na talamak ang maruming kalakaran sa pageant industry dahil sa dokumentaryo.
“So, for them discrediting the whole… kasi parang na-generalize… for them just discrediting the whole pageantry, saying that there’s a bad side in every pageant is not fair.”
Kahit daw noong kandidata pa lamang siya, tiniyak ng Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) na inaalagaan siya at ang mga kapwa niya kandidata.
“Kasi si Mrs. Araneta naman, to be fair, she’s very protective of the girls," pagtukoy ni MJ sa head ng BPCI na si Stella Marquez-Araneta.
“Talagang pinrotektahan niya kami, talagang walang pwedeng basta-bastang makakalapit sa amin.
“Even our mentors had a hard time with that, kasi kahit sila mismo nahihirapan lumapit sa amin.”
Paglilinaw ni MJ, may mga kandidatang sumasali sa beauty pageants dahil passion nila ang pagsali.
May mga kandidata rin daw na sumasali dahil sa kagustuhang i-represent ang Pilipinas sa international stage.
Aniya, “There are still a lot of people who are doing this out of passion, out of love.
“We are doing this because being in the pageant is our dream, it’s our moms’ dream, or just a dream of special people around us.
“And for some people to discredit the hard work that we’re putting in this, is unfair.”
MJ SAYS SHE NEVER EXPERIENCED INDECENT PROPOSALS
Nakikisimpatiya raw si MJ sa mga beauty queens at candidates na na-exploit.
Ang payo niya sa mga aspiring candidates, humanap ng mga taong tutulong sa kanilang pagsali.
“I am sad for all the women na na-experience na, ayan nga, may indecent proposal while their competing.
“I feel sorry that they’re being exploited in their own experiences.
"And I just really hope na makahanap sila ng mga training camps or people who will protect them while competing, kasi it’s very important.
“You can’t do it alone. You can’t protect yourself alone…
“You can’t control the mindset of people around you.
“Some people just love beautiful women and they have the money to spend. So, I don’t know how...”
Sa kaso raw ni MJ ay hindi niya naranasan ang ganoon.
“I never experienced that. I’m very lucky.
“But it’s very, very important to find people that you can trust and, you know, who can protect you.
“And I am very lucky that when I went to Manila, Aces and Queens, KF, and I had Binibining Pilipinas, who really made sure that my whole experience would be all about it and nothing else.”
A PAGEANT ENTHUSIAST’S POINT OF VIEW
Sa talakayan, nagbigay rin ng kanyang pananaw ang isa sa mga host na si Bessie Besana, isang fashion designer at former general manager ng Miss World Philippines organization.
Pinatotohanan ni Bessie ang pagkakaroon ng indecent proposals sa mga kandidata.
“It is true, it happens. Parang meron talagang at meron talagang lalapit, ganyan,” sabi niya.
“Pero number one, naniniwala ako na nasa discretion ‘yan ng candidate if she will accept it.
"In the same way kung ia-accept naman sa male pageant, may ganyan din na kung magpapabuyo ba yung lalaki.
“Having said that, it’s also dependent on the national organization kung hahayaan nilang mangyari yun.
“Kung ako nangyari sa akin yun, like in my case, being general manager of Miss World [Philippines] before, if that happened to me, I will shut that down, and I’ve seen that.
“And I know for a fact that Binibining Pilipinas, headed by Madam Stella, also did that before.
“Pag nakikita man silang umaali-aligid, talagang sina-shutdown nila.
“And I think that’s what’s also different with Madam Stella, is that she also wants a beauty queen, she experienced it also.
“I credit Madam for that.”
Si Madam Stella, na isang Colombian, ay kinoronahang Miss International noong 1960.
Isa ka bang showbiz fan na laging updated at naghahanap ng latest chika? Share what you know. Join here! https://bit.ly/PEPChika