Yet another batch of disqualified candidates hit the news lately and the Philippine pageantry scene is once again abuzz with opinions and reactions. The majority felt the pain and frustrations of the kicked-out beauties whose dreams were shattered and the door of vast opportunities shut in front of their very eyes.

While Bb Pilipinas remains the premier national pageant in the country, its screening process is put in jeopardy by these annual mishaps that could’ve been averted if a more thorough screening process is put in place each year.

The real problem though is pretty obvious – Bb. Pilipinas has a very low tolerance and its definition of what is scandalous no longer fits into the mores of the 21st century. Megan Young – who once posed topless albeit without any indecent exposure – could have faced disqualification had she decided to join Bb. Pilipinas. And to think that she won the crown at the squeaky clean Miss World!

There is a long list of meted Bb. Pilipinas contestants in all these years. Grendel Alvarado and Jen Olivar for example were disqualified simply for posing topless – again with no sensitive parts being exposed – for a breast cancer awareness campaign. Sandra Seifert too was kicked out from the pageant. She participated in another contest and eventually won as first runner-up at Miss Earth 2009.

This year’s axing of Janelle Olafson and Kim Ross De Los Santos echoes the rather outdated principles that govern the Bb. Pilipinas pageant. The organization’s dogmatic approach on what is obscene or not may eventually take its toll. Remember that it was also pretty much obstinate when it comes to citizenship issues that saw the disqualification of the likes of Janelle Bautista and Tisha Silang. Had Bb. Pilipinas continued to clung rigidly to its dogmas, Venus Raj could have remained disqualified and it would be doubtful if the 2015 victory could have ever materialized.

The world of pageantry is evolving and Bb. Pilipinas should catch up. While Pia Wurtzbach’s victory last year could bolster their egos, the organization should understand that a lot of progressive ideas were actually injected – despite of their resistance – by third parties to ensure that the third Miss Universe crown will come into reality. Just think about the issue surrounding the first choice of Bb. Pilipinas for Pia’s prelim gown. Just think about the organization’s resistance to ditch Barraza.

To sustain the golden age of Philippine pageantry, national organizations in the country should learn how to innovate and calibrate their approach depending on what the trends demand. Miss Universe is very much open to so many things that we used to scorn like plastic surgery and topless or even nude photos. The pageantry world is full of failed enterprises largely because they failed to be abreast with the latest. If Bb. Pilipinas will continue to resist change and fails to evolve, it can go extinct.


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