TWO candidates of the Mutya Ng Davao 2019 made revelations which jolted members of the media during the press presentation on Monday, February 18.
Apryl Nicole Roque, candidate 16, revealed that she was a victim of domestic violence, while Louise Ann Canalija, candidate 21, came out as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
Roque and Canalija are among the pageant’s 29 official candidates presented to the press Monday.
Roque was teary-eyed while sharing her experiences on domestic violence with her previous partners. She said she wants to use Mutya Ng Davao as a platform in pushing for her advocacy to end violence against women and promote adherence to the Women Development Code.
“I remained silent before because I was afraid. I was trying to keep it to myself, it was really hard. My friends told me to report it to the Women’s Desk but decided not to because of fear of standing up,” the 26-year old flight attendant said in an interview at Star Hotel here.
“I urge Dabawenyas who have same experiences with me to speak up because there are a lot of people who are willing to help you. Ayaw kahadlok mag speak out and mag-share to trustworthy people, who help their situation. It is really hard to suffer from these because it will lead to depression and suicide. Even me, I have suicidal thought because of those experiences,” she added.
Canalija, for her part, wishes for Davao City to uphold and promote anti-discrimination of the LGBT community.
“This might be the first time that I’ll be coming out publicly as member of the LGBT. I may not look like a stereotypical lesbian but I am and I’m proud of it and I want that everyone in the LGBT community will get to enjoy all their rights and benefits same as how men and women enjoy their rights,” she said, adding it will promote equality and combat hate crimes.
Pageant organizer Dan Salvaña, Jr., in a separate interview, clarified that it was not the first time that a lesbian joined Mutya.
“I think there is nothing wrong with it because no guidelines were violated, for as long as born female and she can do the segments and portions of the pageant. Being a lesbian is not a hindrance in delivering a responsibility of a Mutya ng Davao,” he said.
A Muslim woman, We’Am Ahmed (candidate number 8), is also among the candidates.
Salvaña underscored that any woman regardless of religion is welcome to join.
“For this pageant, we involved the city’s Integrated Gender and Development Division and we strictly follow the Davao City Women Development Code that is very protective of the rights of the women. As you can observe, we have no swimsuit portions and all the outfits of our candidates are strictly not too revealing,” he said.
The head organizer also said that if the Muslim candidate decides to wear hijab during the pageant, she will be allowed.
For this year’s Mutya, the winning candidate will win P200,000 cash. The first runner–up or Diwa ng Davao will bring home P150,000 cash while the second runner-up or Sinag ng Davao will win P100,000 cash.
The crowned Mutya ng Davao 2019 should best represent the modern Dabawenya. The coronation night is set on March 2, 2019 at the RMC Petro Gazz Arena.
Here is the list of the 29 official candidates: 1 - Danielle Abigail Apostol; 2 - Vanessa Coustley; 3 - Jan Marine Rendon; 4 - Christine Angelica Dacera; 5 - Ashly Mae Potolin; 6 - Irish Ebuen; 7 - Reynalie Jane Remulta; 8 - We’am Ahmed; 9 - Irha Mel Alfeche; 10 - Shann Khelsi Madanlo; 11 - Lady Lou Tabudlong; 12 - Mary Coleen Pangan; 13 - Ybonne Ortega; 14 - Eula Cristine Napuli; 15 - Darlene Paula Dichoso; 16 - Apryl Nicole Roque; 17 - Clydel June Tabacolde; 18 - Regine Anillo; 19 - Trixie Marie Cabiles; 20 - Jezira Uy; 21 - Louise Ann Canalija; 22 - Athen Therese Melocoton; 23 - Alea Tibayan; 24 - Rhesam Mae Quindoy; 25 - Candy Ruth Cameros; 26 - Dulce Amor Lumictin; 27 - Julia Nicole Culaste; 28 - Lovely Mae Aquino; and 29 - Charmaine Bless Shotwell.