WATCH: Rabiya Mateo’s introduction video for 69th Miss Universe competition

Philippine bet Rabiya Mateo emphasized the importance of education in her introduction video for the 69th Miss Universe competition. 

In a video released by the Miss Universe organization on April 21, Wednesday, Rabiya recalled how education improved her life from its “humble beginnings."

“I really had my humble beginnings, and education has transformed my life. Now, I am a teacher and I hope that my students will see the value of education the way that I saw it,” she said. 

The beauty queen also emphasized that education is a “social equalizer,” especially for poor families in the Philippines. “I live in a country where there’s a lot of poor families and education is our social equalizer, that regardless of what background you have, what is the status of your family, if you educate yourself, you will be able to land a great job,” she continued. 

Rabiya added that if she will be crowned as the next Miss Universe, she will do her best to champion other people. “We need nowadays is not just a beauty queen with pretty face, but we need phenomenal women who are not afraid to speak and to stand for things that they believe in,” she ended. 

Before being crowned Miss Universe Philippines, Rabiya worked as a physical therapy lecturer and was part of an organization that helps educate children who live near a dumpsite in Iloilo City. She also talked about her education advocacy during the Miss Universe Philippines pageant: “With proper knowledge of the things around you, of your purpose in life, and of what you are fighting for, you are going beyond being educated. You become empowered and able to empower others.” 

Rabiya is currently in Florida, USA to compete in the Miss Universe pageant, scheduled on May 16, (May 17 in Manila). Filipino pageant fans can watch the competition live on A2Z channel starting at 8 am. - Rappler.com