MANILA, Philippines – Mister International Philippines 2014 Neil Perez said that he is dedicating his work in the pageant to his comrades from the Special Action Force, who died during a violent clash in Maguindanao on Sunday, January 25.
Neil will be competing for the title of Mister International in Seoul, South Korea, this February.
"Denededicate ko etong laban ko sa Korea sa mga ka batch ko po na nag-buwis sa SAF at para sa mga SAF. Papasalamat din ako sa Philippine National Police," Neil said during his send off for the competition at the One Esplanade Lounge, Tuesday, January 27.
(I am dedicating this competition in Korea for batchmates n the SAF who lost their lives, and to the SAF. I would also like to thank the Philippine National Police.)
Neil said that 7 of those who died in battle were his batchmates in Batch Mabalasig. A total of 44 officers were killed, according to Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II.
Neil, a bomb and explosives technician with the PNP Aviations Security Group, said that he hopes to get the same support given to Mary Jean "MJ" Lastimosa, who recently competed in the 63rd Miss Universe in Doral, Miami. MJ made it to the top 10.
"Sana ganun din [support]. Parehas lang kami ni MJ na pinaglalaban ang Pilipinas, so sana suportahan din ako," he said. (IN PHOTOS: Police officer clinches victory in Misters of the Philippines)
(I hope i get the same support. MJ and I are both competing for the Philippines, so I really hope for support.)
Neil said that he has prepared for the competition especially for the question and answer portion. His suit and national costume was also presented to the media.
When asked if he will continue being a policeman after the competition, the 29-year-old Neil said that he is a police, mind and heart.
Neil's family was also present to lend him support, with his mother reminding him to put God first in everything he does.
Neil's decision to join the Misters of the Philippines competition last September caught many by surprise. He's since earned a lot of fans – even appearing at the Cosmo Bachelors' Bash in September.
Photo by Manman Dejeto/Rappler
The PNP said that they fullt supported Neil's decision to join because he wanted to promote physical fitness and the good side of the police. He later won the title of Mister International Philippines. – Rappler.com