Palace hails Pia’s victory

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang yesterday hailed Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach for winning the 2015 Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.

“The triumph of Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach in the Miss Universe pageant is an honor that is shared by the entire Filipino nation,” Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in a statement.

“She is the embodiment of the Filipinos’ intelligence, talent, and skill that has also gained recognition in many fields of endeavor by the global community. Her victory is a most welcome Christmas present to a grateful and hopeful nation,” he said.

Coloma’s colleague, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, was more thrilled with Wurtzbach’s victory.

“The whole country unites in celebration over Ms. Wurtzbach’s coronation as Miss Universe in the 2015 pageant. Throughout her journey, Ms. Wurtzbach showcased to the world the characteristic beauty, intelligence, and elegance for which Filipinas are renowned,” he said.

“In the first few moments of the original announcement, she showed tremendous poise and control, and even more tremendous graciousness when the real verdict was finally announced,” Lacierda said, referring to the confusion that filled the atmosphere as the pageant host mistakenly announced the winner to be Miss Colombia.

“We congratulate her for this success as the third Miss Universe of the Philippines, following in the footsteps of Gloria Diaz and Margie Moran-Floirendo,” Lacierda said.

“The tremendous support of our countrymen helped propel Miss Wurtzbach from her Binibining Pilipinas title to the weeks leading up to the pageant, becoming a pageant favorite, which eventually led to her winning,” Lacierda added.

“Indeed, this triumph is the result not only of her beauty but also of her passion for positive change, as one who is confidently beautiful with a heart. Over 42 years and today, once more, the Philippines shines forth with joy and celebration,” he said.

Wurtzbach is expected to return to Manila tomorrow. She said she was excited to leave Las Vegas and was hoping the pageant organizers will allow her to spend Christmas here.

She will be flown back to the country on board a flight of Philippine Airlines, her official carrier in the Miss Universe pageant. 

Grace under pressure

Senators Grace Poe, Francis Escudero and Juan Edgardo Angara joined the nation in celebrating the win of Wurtzbach.

Angara said Wurtzbach exuded grace under pressure all throughout the event.

Escudero said Wurtzbach has given the Philippines another source of pride.

Poe, for her part, cited Wurtzbach’s story of resilience and determination, which led her to victory.

Campaign vs HIV-AIDS

Meanwhile, a coalition of labor groups is hopeful that the win of Wurtzbach would help the campaign against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) – acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

“Pia’s leverage into the campaign against HIV and AIDS in the country is a morale booster to HIV/AIDS advocates and activists,” Nagkaisa said.

“She comes into the issue at a time when the campaign is at an all-time low because of appalling high growth of incidence and everyone seemed not to care anymore,” the group said.

Lawmakers from the Gabriela party-list also praised Wurtzbach for raising the issue of HIV-AIDS as one problem that needs to be addressed globally.

Rep. Emmerenciana de Jesus, however, said Gabriela believes that her position in favor of US military presence in the country contradicts her concern for humanity. - With Evelyn Macairan, Rudy Santos, Mayen Jaymalin, Christina Mendez, Paolo Romero



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