President Rodrigo Duterte rallied 2016 Miss Universe candidates to “make an impact and inspire change” when he welcomed 84 beauty queens to Malacañang on Monday.
“More than presenting beauty and brains, the Miss Universe competition or any beauty contestant for that matter is an opportunity for you to represent your country, to promote your advocacies, and to advance women empowerment to a greater audience,” the President said in his speech.
“More importantly, this is a chance for you to make an impact, to inspire change, and even be the change that you wish to see in the world. That is why I hope that you will continue to make this out of your time here in the competition and in your country,” he added.
Duterte, who has never hesitated in showing his “appreciation” for women, was all praises for the candidates.
“I’d like to make an admission that never in my life have I been in a room full of beautiful women. I hope that this day will never end,” the President said.
“I must say that God is really good. Aside from the worries of governance, with all the troubles in the world, when we look at you, we forget the universe,” he added.
Two candidates — Miss Finland and Miss Switzerland — were absent because they were not feeling well, according to Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo.
Teo said that many of the candidates have had to adjust to the Philippine heat.
“They’re not used to the hot weather.They have to rest. The doctor’s advice,” she told reporters.
She said the President is been invited to watch the January 30 coronation but he has yet to confirm his attendance.
The 65th Miss Universe grand coronation will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on January 30.