Miss Philippines Earth 2016 Imelda Schweighart on criticism, bullying
MANILA, Philippines – For newly crowned Miss Philippines Earth 2016 Imelda Schweighart, her win was a vindication of her hard work and the criticism she went through prior to the pageant night on Saturday, June 11 at the UP Theater in Diliman. (PHOTO RECAP: Miss Philippines Earth 2016 coronation night)
In an interview with reporters after she was crowned, Imelda said: "I feel relieved 'cause I’ve been bullied all throughout the pageant and now I think [they will treat me better], because I won." (FULL LIST: Miss Philippines Earth 2016 winners)
"I was bullied [because of] my physical looks… and of course pinaparingan ako (they would say things about me)... They stole stuff from me but it’s okay, I've forgiven them. God is great. He redeemed me, he saved me and he gave me truly what I deserve," she said.
She also added: "Now I know that the power of attraction really works, because of KF [Kagandahang Flores], my mentors and my teachers, they were able to teach me how it really works. And if you really believe, you will truly achieve [something]."
Imelda said she is looking forward to representing the Philippines in Miss Earth sometime at end of the year, saying, "I've got what it takes."
She also said that she does not feel any pressure at all, despite the back-to-back wins of Jamie Herrell and Angelia Ong for the country.
"There’s no pressure at all because they are good advisers and they will guide my path. And I’m lucky that we’re in home court right now," she said.
During the final question and answer portion, Imelda said that given a chance to speak with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte, she would push for her adovcacy of banning genetically-modified organisms and seeds in the country.
"I’m into spirituality, and I think the number one change in our country, in the world is to focus on the basics. You know – be natural. If we’re natural we will think more deeply about [different] situations… we could be protected more because of these special gifts that we have," she said.
On Sunday, June 12, Imelda posted a message on her Facebook after winning the crown. She said:
"First time in history that Puerto Princesa won the [Miss Philippines] Earth crown! I asked God to take place in my temple. He did. I'm always questioned and victimized by racial bullying. I grew up in the Philippines and it is definitely not fair to treat me otherwise.
"To fight for my race as a Filipino is showing how I respect my Filipino blood. I was bullied all throughout the pageant but it has paid off. If you watch our competition from start to finish I displayed proficient work. God bless us Filipinos."