Voices of the ‘Universe’


    TWO delegates for the 69th Miss Universe in May – Rabiya Mateo of the Philippines and Amanda Obdam of Thailand – emerge as strongly opinionated and phenomenal women who know how to use their titles to champion causes for the benefit of others.

    In a virtual interview with pageant website Missosology recently, Mateo said that “women are as capable as men, especially in leading a nation.”

    The 24-year-old Filipino-Indian from Iloilo City said that while she respected President Rodrigo Duterte, she disagreed with his remarks that women are not fit for the presidency and are incapable of leading because of their emotions.

    “I do respect the President but I completely disagree with this thought. In our country we already have had two female leaders,” said Rabiya.

    “Women are as capable as men in handling a nation. I just wanna give an example on what happened in New Zealand in conquering COVID-19,” she said. “Their female leader (Jacinda Ardern) was able to nurse a newborn but at the same time, she was able to become a mother to her land,” she added.

    “I am a woman and I believe that my emotions do make part in my leadership skills. I have so much heart, I have so much calling in being a leader and I do disagree with this thought. I can lead my country because I have the power to do so,” she added. “Women and men should have the same opportunities… I know my strengths and capabilities as a woman. I know that I can make so much difference.”

    Rabiya believes emotions are important in leading a nation. “We need female leaders who will put their emotions in making their decisions because it’s not all about experience.

    Sometimes, you really need to put your emotions and to be the mother of your land.”

    In January, President Duterte said his daughter, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte, would not run for president because the position is not for women.

    Meanwhile, only a few days after Thailand’s Department of Mental Health appointed the reigning Miss Universe Thailand Amanda Obdam as its ambassador, they dumped her after she spoke critically of the state of violence used against the pro-democracy movement.

    Crowned as Miss Universe Thailand last year, Thai-Canadian Obdam, 27, was dismissed from being a mental health ambassadress after she expressed disgust at images showing security forces appearing to assault medical volunteers in the street.

    The department said that with that, she spread “conflict and discomfort.”

    Mateo, who has been pitted against Obdam as among the strongest contenders for Miss Universe, expressed her support for Obdam on social media.

    “I stand with Amanda! Queens, as public figures, shouldn’t be silenced. They have the responsibility to use their voice and platform to call out injustices,” Mateo said.

    On Tuesday night, Amanda had a press con addressing this and said that that she will continue to listen to people’s voices and support them with her project.

    The 69th Miss Universe will be held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood on May 16, 2021 (May 17 in Ph).