Miss Universe Philippines lauded for anti-cyberbullying statement

March 27, 2024 - 11:32 AM
MUPH 2024 delegates
Delegates of Miss Universe Philippines 2024 in this photo posted on the Miss Universe Philippines' Facebook on Feb. 18, 2024 (TheMissUniversePH/Facebook)

Pinoy pageant fans welcomed the statement of the Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) organization about cyberbullying and hateful comments on social media involving its delegates and people associated with the pageant.

The MUPH on Tuesday issued a statement saying that it “strongly condemns any and all forms of cyberbullying,” which includes “bullying, threatening [and] derogatory remarks” made on its social media platforms.

It added that it will be “actively monitoring” all of its platforms regularly “to ensure that no derogatory, rude, mean, offensive comments persist,” adding that these “will be deleted immediately.”

“Users, bloggers, accounts, persons or organizations that consistently engage in this toxic and negative behavior shall be immediately blocked and reported,” the MUPH said.

The organization informed the public that it will file a report for cyberbullying and online threats covered under the Cybercrime Prevention Act or Republic Act 10175.

Explaining its reason for the initiative, the MUPH said that it recognizes “the harmful effects of cyberbullying to a delegate’s mental and physical health that can last long after the pageant.”

“In recent years, social media has become a damaging, dangerous and toxic environment for pageant delegates. The MUPh Organization would like to create a safe space on our social media platforms for beauty queens and aspirants,” the organization added.

“Many good people turn a blind eye and ignore these injustices and accept them as mere realities of social media. But this needs to stop,” the MUPH said.

It urged others to join them in the social media campaign “to stop normalizing toxicity and cyberbullying on social media.”

“We can only control our own social media platforms. But it is our hope that other social media accounts and bloggers would be inspired to do it as well. Let us be proactive in uplifting and empowering women,” the organization concluded.

The MUPH’s action was welcomed by Filipinos who agreed with the statement about hateful comments, especially involving pageant delegates.

“FINALLY! This is what I’ve been waiting for. GREAT JOB!” a Facebook user exclaimed with clapping emojis.

“Let’s spread love and understanding. A fruitful discourse is better than any form of bullying. Support your candidate without bringing another candidate down. If you have seen a negative comment, just report it. Never retaliate in the thread or in some other posts,” another user wrote.

“In an ideal world, the views and opinions of the fans may not necessarily reflect that of the candidate, but in reality, they are being taken into consideration. Your words are a powerful tool. Use it wisely and kindly. To the Miss Universe Philippines organization, please purge the bogus troll accounts fueling these outrage,” the user added.

“My heart beats for Iloilo!!! Support [your] candidate [na lang] po [without] bullying others… sport po tayong lahat, love love love,” a different Pinoy commented.

“This is [a] good job… hopefully, those toxic people will understand this post and stop bullying other candidates,” wrote another user.

While the MUPH did not particularly cite a specific instance or incident, the Philippine Entertainment Portal said that Miss Universe Philippines 2024 bet Elaine Bernales of Albay was the latest victim of cyberbullying.

The report said some social media users have been criticizing her appearance, claiming she looks like a transgender woman.

Another Facebook user related the organization’s statement to that of Miss Universe Philippines 2024 bet Alexie Brooks of Iloilo, claiming her fans engage in “trash talk” in online comments.

“I am an Ilonggo and I love Alexie, but with all the pageant-related posts I have seen, grabe mga Ilonggo makipag-trash talk sa comsec [comments section]. Kalmahan [niyo] lang,” the user said.

“Alexie will win if she is destined to. Dragging other candidates down will not make her win. This also goes to all pageant fans. We can be supportive and kind at the same time,” the user added.

Pinoys are among the most diehard fans in the pageant community.

Popular culture scholar Prof. Jose Wendell Capili said in a 2021 report that Filipinos first became interested in beauty contests in the early 1900s.

Meanwhile, 55 delegates are vying to succeed Michelle Dee, who finished Top 10 in the 72nd Miss Universe, in the upcoming Miss Universe Philippines 2024.