MALACAÑANG on Saturday expressed support for Miss Philippines Maxine Medina, who is representing the country at the 65th Miss Universe pageant.

Presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella wished Medina all the best.

“As the country’s representative, Maxine is able to show the beauty, warm, hope and dignity of the Filipino. We are truly proud of her,” Abella told government-run dzRB.

Abella said Medina deserved moral boost for “working very hard and giving her best in a competition that promotes goodwill and friendship among nations.”

“We convey our most heartfelt felicitations for all the Miss Universe candidates and especially cheer and throw our support for the Miss Philippines candidate, Maxine Medina,” he added.

Medina is looking forward to a back-to-back win for the Philippines, this year’s host country of the Miss Universe competition.

So far, the Philippines has three Miss Universe title holders: Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973), and Pia Wurtzbach (2015).

Wurtzbach will pass on the crown to the new title holder on January 30, Monday.

The grand coronation will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City at 8 a.m. Monday.

Abella said it is an honor for the Philippines to host the international beauty pageant.

“We are also grateful for this experience of hosting the pageant, assured and confident that the Miss Universe experience has been joyful and memorable for all the candidates and our foreign guests,” the presidential spokesperson said.

“We invite them to come back and bring more of their friends to explore the various islands of the Philippines, ready to be astonished of the unexhausted beauty of each one and willing to be moved in every way by the fervent spirit of the Filipino people.” (Ruth Abbey Gita/SunStar Philippines)