Press Release
November 12, 2018


Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday decried the incidents of sexual harassment that victimized three Miss Earth candidates.

Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution No. 932 calling for an inquiry into the incidents. The opposition senator added that acts of sexual harassment and violence should be given 'zero tolerance.'

"Sexual harassment has no place anywhere, especially in a pageant that claims to uphold the value and power of women. At a time when women and girls are battered by rape jokes, sexual violence, and sex for freedom cases, it is imperative that sexual harassment of any kind, shape or form be brought out into the open,"Hontiveros said.

Three Miss Earth 2018 candidates, Miss Earth-Canada Jaimie Yvonne Vandenberg, Miss Earth-England, Abbey-Anne Gyles-Brown, and Miss Earth-Guam, Emma Mae Sheedy came forward to reveal their experiences of sexual harassment involving one of the pageant's sponsors, a certain Amado Cruz. Vandenberg, who eventually withdrew from the competition, said that Cruz got her mobile number without her consent, and kept calling her to ask for her hotel and room number.

"He showed up to almost all of my events telling me he could take care of my needs and asked for sexual favors in exchange to get me further in the pageant. I was disgusted," Vandenberg wrote on her Instagram page.

"Responsibility for this incident falls squarely on the shoulders of both the harasser and the organizers of the event. I am surprised that despite reports of sexual harassment, the sponsor was still allowed to see the candidates in succeeding events. This shows disregard for their welfare and a flippant attitude towards the handling of this case. This cannot be allowed to pass un-addressed. This inquiry seeks to shed light on the true events of the case, and to aid in the future protection of women from sexual harassment. No woman should ever be a victim, whatever country they come from," Hontiveros said.

Senator Hontiveros is the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality.

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