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MUPH encourages use of native languages in 2024 pageant

by Joanna Deala

DELEGATES of the 2024 edition of Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) may opt to express themselves in their native languages during the pageant.

In a statement, MUPH president Jonas Gaffud said that speaking in their preferred language enables candidates to convey their thoughts clearly to the public.

“Sometimes, the clarity of their thoughts and the impact of their responses are compromised by the challenge of articulating in grammatically precise English,” he said.

“Kung gagamitin ang English language, okay lang yan. Pero hindi rin masama mag-Tagalog, Waray, Ilocano, Bicolano, Hiligaynon, Kapampangan, Chavacano, at iba pang Filipino language,” he added.

This was not the first time that the national beauty pageant encouraged its delegates to speak in their own languages. In 2020, the MUPH allowed for the first time in Philippine pageantry the candidates to communicate in other Philippine languages, even in interviews, speeches, and the question-and-answer portion of the pageant because there would be interpreters and subtitles would be provided.

This was also showcased in the promotional video of Miss Universe Philippines 2020 that featured dozens of Filipina beauty queens greeting the public in their own languages, from “magandang araw” to “maayong adlaw sa inyong tanan.”

There have been discussions about whether speaking the English language must be a prerequisite for Miss Universe. While some individuals believed it should be a requirement, others claimed that what’s important is for the candidate to express herself well in whatever language she uses. After all, the beauty pageant allows its delegates to be accompanied by a translator.

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray also did not think it should be a prerequisite for the candidates to speak the English language.

In a previous interview with Philippine Pageantry, the beauty queen said, “Miss Universe is just someone who communicates her thoughts effectively and is able to connect to people.”

She likened communication to music and said that feelings can still be conveyed in songs even though the lyrics are in different languages.

Netizens chime in

Several social media users also gave their own thoughts to Gaffud’s statement about the use of native languages in the pageant.

Some netizens praised the MUPH organization for promoting the other Philippine languages.

“Panahon [na] para gamitin natin sariling wika. Lahat naman [sila well-trained] para [m]aintindihan din ng mga kapwa natin [Pinoy],” a netizen said.

Another Facebook user said that it is okay to use a native language as long as there is an interpreter who can relay their answers to the pageant judges.

An individual, meanwhile, commented that using other languages does not matter as long as the candidate understands the questions and is “able to deliver a reasonable answer.”

“That is the essence of winning,” he said.

Another netizen said that promoting native languages could be a “powerful way to showcase cultural pride and authenticity.” However, he said that it was also necessary to incorporate effective communication with a diverse audience.

“Emphasizing one’s native language should enhance the overall presentation without alienating others who may not understand it,” he stressed.



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