“I think the pageant system is about empowering women. I think that aspect of it is great, but when you take parents who are forcing their children to do anything, I don’t think it’s healthy.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEW JERSEY — When the Philippines first hosted the Miss Universe in 1974, the pageant not only showcased the country’s “warm” hospitality and “greatness” before an international audience, it also deodorized the human rights violation-tainted Marcos administration which placed the country under Martial Law on September 21, 1972.
Most of all, it reportedly promoted sex tourism, or so it seemed.
In fact, that year’s winner, Ms. Amparo Muñoz of Spain, who became an actress, was implicated in a sex scandal.
It’s not the kind of sex scandal though that has bedeviled some politicians and showbiz stars today like the Hayden Kho sex video or the alleged Senator Leila De Lima-driver taped tryst.
It’s the slapping incident involving Muñoz and a prominent socialite accused of pimping the Spanish beauty.
When Muñoz slapped the alleged pimp of big time Manila businessmen, the episode was not part of the Hayop sa Ganda movie that also starred 1969 Miss Universe Gloria Diaz.
“It was a real skirmish that shocked the entertainment world,” the late Joe Quirino once remarked in Seeing Stars with Joe Quirino.
Since it was a Martial Law, the press could not report in complete details what really had transpired.
Muñoz was reportedly declared as persona non grata as a result of that tumult and left the Philippines in a huff. She died in Malaga, Spain on February 27, 2011 at age 56 due to Parkinson’s disease.
Although nobody came forward to confirm that other Miss Universe contestants had also been pimped at that time, the reported slapping brouhaha underscored fears that sex tourism could have reportedly penetrated the prestigious international beauty contest.
Meanwhile, one thing good about the Philippines’ hosting of the 2017 Miss Universe, is the Malacanang memorandum circular dated December 28, 2016 which ordered that no public funds shall be expended for the international event which will unfold on January 30, 2017.
“The DOT (Department of Tourism) may call upon any such department…. for assistance as the circumstances and exigencies may require, read the circular signed by Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea.
“Officials concerned shall adopt such measures as may be necessary to ensure that there will be no disruption of work and services in their respective offices by reason thereof,” the circular says.
“Except for such reasonable resources required in providing support for the hosting of the Pageant, no public funds shall be expended for the hosting of the 2016 Miss Universe Pageant,” it adds.
When the Philippines hosted the pageant for only the second time in 1994, the organizers suffered a shortfall and the Ramos administration reportedly covered some of the expenses in the $5.3 million-event.