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From beauty pageants, Global Alliance shifts to livelihood training

06 December 2018

Selomenio shakes the blues away at GA's anniversary& Christmas party

By The SUN

Global Alliance chair Leo Selomenio, who has renounced the holding of beauty pageants featuring Filipina domestic workers, says her group is shifting to livelihood projects that will showcase the talent of OFWs.

The star of “Sunday Beauty Queen”, an award-winning documentary on Hong Kong-based Filipina domestic helpers who join beauty pageants, said her 30-member alliance has proposed the holding of livelihood training courses to the Philippine Overseas Labor Office.

“Ngayong totally nag-switch out na kami sa beauty pageants, nag-shift na kami sa livelihood. May nai-propose na kami kay Labatt (Jalilo dela Torre), yung training for hairstyling, tapos yung make-up,” Selomenio told The SUN in an interview of the sidelines of Global Alliance’s third anniversary celebration on Dec 2.

She said the group already has trainers to handle the hairstyling and make-up courses.

GA has also proposed a jewelry design training and other art-related short courses that would harness the talent of Filipina helpers, Selomeno said.

“The way na kung paano naming nai-promote ang tourism, siguro sa Independence Day mag-showcase kami ng mga costumes from the Philippines through modeling lang…pero yung sabihin mong magkaron din ng beauty pageant, hindi na,” she said.

She said her group would also focus on talent-based contests similar to “Talentadong Pinoy” so that domestic workers could showcase their varied talents.

For years, Selomenio’s group had focused on holding beauty pageants for OFWs, an activity that had reaped criticism and opposition from various sectors, especially in the wake of the spread of photos from a sleazy beauty contest held in Wanchai recently.

But the success of “Sunday Beauty Queen” in the Manila Film Festival, where it won the Best Movie Award, appeared to have softened the negative the stance of Consulate officials toward beauty pageants.

That is, until pictures of the lewd Wanchai pageant held on Nov. 18 spread like wildfire on social media.

Labatt Dela Torre condemned the show as commoditizing and debasing Filipinas, and called its organizer to his office to explain why she staged the pageant. The organizer subsequently issued a public apology over the incident.

Labatt also called on corporate sponsors to withdraw support so that the contests will die a natural death.

Selomenio also slammed the show as offensive to the Filipinas’ image before announcing that GA would stop holding beauty pageants. Her decision stirred a storm that subjected her to bashing on social media by other OFW groups.

On Dec 2, however, Labatt Dela Torre congratulated GA’s decision.

“Pinupuri ko ang desisyon ng Global Alliance at ng mga member organizations nito na magbago ng direksiyon at ipatigil na itong kahiya-hiyang parte ng pagku-conduct ng beauty contest,” Labatt Dela Torre said, as he pledged POLO’s full support.

“Sisikapin ko na mabigyan kayo ng alternative, decent ways of showcasing the skills and talents of our Filipinas here in Hong Kong rather than shows that commoditize and debase our women,” he said.

He said these beauty contests are doing more harm than good to the community. “Karamihan nangungutang na lang para makasali sa beauty contests.”

Leaders of various member groups pledged their support to Global Alliance and tearfully defended the embattled Selomenio against her bashers. Corporate sponsors who attended the celebration at the Queensway Plaza rooftop also promised their continued support.

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