Pageant contenders in Benguet turn into advocates for youth
The role of the winners in the annual Mr. and Ms. Benguet (MMB) will not stop after the coronation, as they will serve as youth advocates in the province.
Executive assistant to the governor Dr. Ryan Guinaran said the provincial government has started shifting the MMB pageant as a youth development program where participants would become “models, movers, and builders” in the province.
Gov. Melchor Diclas, through Executive Order 2022-043, has created the establishment of the Mr. and Ms. Benguet Leadership and Youth Advocacy Development (Layad) Council in support of the program.
Through the EO, the top winners of the provincial pageant would be called MMB Culture and Tourism while the first runners-up shall be called MMB Nature and the second runners-up shall be known as MMB Youth.
“The council will meet to discuss how the winners of pageants can be utilized for advocacy. We are matching what office in the Capitol can provide assistance to their advocacies. We have started with Mr. and Ms. Benguet and the winners have been doing rounds on mental health for the youth,” Guinaran said.
The Layad Council to be chaired by the governor would also provide mentoring and coaching for the youth advocates. The first thing taught to them is how to effectively communicate their advocacies.
Also, the council plans to conduct and institutionalize the MMB official-for-a-day in the coming months.
Guinaran said aside from the candidates of Mr. and Ms. Benguet, other beauty pageant winners from the province can also be assisted by the governor’s office with their advocacies.
He acknowledged there are many Benguet youths who won in various beauty pageants not only in the national level but internationally as well who are coming to the Capitol to present their awards.
Recently recognized by the province are pageant winners Mr. Model Search International Grand Winner Kenneth Jhayve Bautista of Itogon; Great Man of the Universe Culture and Tourism Stephen Harold Liley, Jr. of Sablan; Hari ng Pilipinas Lakan Kultura Kevin Claud Beray of Bokod; and I Am Model Search International first runner-up Maida Faith Basilio of Sablan and Tuba.
Guinaran said the surge of Benguet youth joining in various pageants emanated from the community of co-inspiration, with the different pageants becoming a platform of self-expression and assertion of their cultural identity as indigenous peoples.
“We could see that while there are those who could break the glass ceiling as we say, it causes inspiration to the youth. We are really proud of our youth who are excelling especially in pageantry. It is where we could mold influencers out of them as advocates,” he said.
He said the governor’s office is open to all young people with an advocacy to reach out to their fellow youth in the province. — Ofelia C. Empian