MANILA, Philippines — The day after the grand coronation night last July 11, Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI) gathered the newly-crowned Binibining Pilipinas 2021 queens in a virtual forum to answer queries on their respective journeys, during and after the pageant.
The girls were then asked what they would tell a person who was hesitant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Bb. Pilipinas Intercontinental 2021 Cinderella Faye Obeñita shared that she got her second dose an hour before the broadcast and showed the bandage covering the jab point.
"I thank BPCI for thinking about the safety of the ladies and the safety of the staff. It is important to be vaccinated and be part of the process because it is the only way to get out of this pandemic.
"For those who are hesitant, we need to find out why. We need to amplify and expand our efforts to roll out information and educational campaigns. This boils down to efforts of local government units (LGUs), the Department of Health (DoH), and all non-government organizations (NGOs) to really strengthen their info campaign," enthused Cagayan de Oro's outstanding tourism officer and staunch cervical cancer advocate.
Bb. Pilipinas Grand International winner Samantha Panlilio said that she would tell that person that getting vaccinated is important. "We are trying to achieve herd immunity as a nation. If you get yourself protected, you also protect others around you. This is therefore an act of kindness."
2nd runner-up Meiji Cruz shared that she started with her family and friends because she knew they were hesitant. "It's because of the possible side effects. But I told them that protection is higher than the risks. It is only through vaccination that we can achieve population immunity.
Bb. Pilipinas International winner Hannah Arnold said that as a scientist, she needed to explain that history has shown us the efficacy of vaccines. "I won't force anyone to get inoculated. But I want to show that if you and me are vaccinated, we protect the community. If they're hesitant and scared, I will come and hold their hand while being vaccinated. I'm very willing to do that. Please do your research and believe in the science."
First runner-up placer Gabrielle Basiano related that there are people who really prefer not to get "vaxxed." "But remember that the best vaccines are the ones available to us. It's the only way to go back to normal. Makakahinga na tayo ng maluwag 'pag naabot na natin 'yung herd immunity."
Bb. Pilipinas Globe winner Maureen Montagne encourages everyone to get vaxxed because it is the next step in healing from the pandemic. "We're almost there, guys. And if we continue the protocols, I look forward to the day where we take off our masks and shields."
Hannah, a graduate of Applied Science in Forensic Studies, thanked the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for acknowledging that we need science to curb another pandemic. She singled out the Invent Science Program in schools as her favorite among the agency's many projects. "There's a misconception that we are just pretty faces, so I thank the DOST that they recognize we are women from invariably all backgrounds. We have a lot to bring to the table."
For her part, Samantha was asked what other place, apart from Cavite, could she apply her advocacy for sustainability. "In Bulacan, as I experience farming there. It's making sure that communities with improvements – like a new airport facility – continue their progress."
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