Congress is eyeing either tighter regulation or a total ban on beauty contests put up by governors, mayors and barangay (village) captains to check abuses by male politicians who use the pageants to get girls.
Gabriela party-list Representative Luzviminda Ilagan said Congress should investigate the largely unregulated beauty pageants held at the local level following a complaint filed in the Department of Justice by a beauty contest winner who accused Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, Vice Mayor Romeo Borja Jr. of rape.
“These beauty pageants are virtually used as a hunting ground by some politicians looking for innocent victims,” Ilagan said, adding that she would ask her peers to introduce legislation regulating them. “If we cannot ban them, we should regulate them.”
“This is one kind of exploitation of women in beauty contests, which is why we should educate the parents and girls joining these contests and warn them against falling prey to their trap,” Ilagan said in an interview with reporters.
Ilagan said the Department of Interior and Local Government should take the lead in investigating abuses by local officials who have been luring girls to join these pageants, which include night gown and swimsuit events, for significant prize money.