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‘SBQ not about beauty contests’

02 April 2017

By Daisy CL Mandap

VC Quintin
The movie, Sunday Beauty Queen, is not about beauty pageants, but about the plight of Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong and how they cope with the struggles of working in a foreign land.
This was the message emphasized by Vice Consul Robert Quintin, when he spoke at the block screening of the award-winning movie at Hong Kong University on Mar. 27, organized by Global Alliance.

Quintin, who heads the Consulate’s cultural section, took pains to explain that while the movie is a must-see because of its realistic portrayal of migrant workers’ woes, it has to be seen in the proper perspective.

“It’s about the status of the Filipino overseas workers here – in fact, everywhere in the world. Dito natin nakikita how they cope with the challenges thrown their way,” said Quintin.

“This brings to light what we need to work on. Definitely, there’s still a lot that needs to be done on the policy side”.

That message, he said, needs to be communicated to the Hong Kong government so changes could be made to improve the lot of Filipino overseas workers.

In a separate interview at the Consulate, Consul General Bernardita Catalla was more forthright in saying she had no wish to see the docu-film because it did not address the bigger issue of how beauty contests leave many Filipino domestic workers deeply in debt.

She recounted how she expressed her reservations on this issue when the movie’s director, Babyruth Villarama, paid her a courtesy call before filming began.

“I told her (Villarama) that there are a lot of activities we support, like financial literary training, information seminars and others, but beauty contests are not among them”.

She never heard from the movie maker again, making her realize that there was a deliberate attempt to gloss over this issue.

Worse, she heard that the film took swipes at the Consulate for allegedly not doing anything to help Filipino workers.

“Siniraan kami,” Congen simply said.

In his speech, Vice Consul Quintin also stressed that beauty contests do not play a significant part in the lives of Filipino workers in Hong Kong, and do not have wide support within the community, “but that’s beside the point.”

He expressed hope that those who have seen the movie would do something to to help workers who are in need.

“After seeing this film I hope it will stir something in you so you can help us bring their issues to light,” said Quintin.

He particularly called on Filipino residents to do their part. “I hope you will not turn a blind eye to the needs of your fellow Filipinos.”

Quintin assured the audience that the Consulate is always ready to help migrant workers.
“Kalimutan na ninyo ang hotline, kausapin na lang ninyo ako,” he said, adding his Facebook messenger is always on for workers who might need his help.

The double screening was organized by Global Alliance, chaired by the film’s lead character, Leo Selomenio. It was co-hosted by the HKU’s Department of Sociology and the Women’s Studies Research Centre.

Major sponsor, Pinas.com, donated two iphones for the raffle draw, and brought along singer and co-owner Eric Santos, to entertain the crowd. Pinas.com, an online platform that provides a host of services for OFWs, is headed by Juancho Robles and wife, Pinky Pe Tobiano.

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