Earl D.C. Bracamonte (Philstar.com) – April 10, 2021 – 6:23pm

MANILA, Philippines — After the Miss Eco International (MEI) final show, a ruckus ensued as some candidates could not travel back to their home country since they tested positive for COVID-19 during the required swab routine.

Some quarters even reported that MEI 2020 first runner-up Kelley Day contracted the virus even before the coronation night. The rumor soon died down.

MEI Philippines national director Arnold Vegafria issued an official statement to address the issue.

“The Miss World Philippines is coordinating closely with the MEI Organization in ensuring the health and safety of all the candidates in its recently concluded pageant. Our official candidate, Ms. Kelley Day, remains our topmost priority and we remain optimistic as we await the results of the organization’s medical testing procedures,” the statement read.

A Thai pageant site then posted faces of candidates with the caption, “Get well soon, girls”, suggesting that these candidates contracted COVID-19. Among those in the photo collage was Kelley, together with candidates from Thailand, Reunion Island, Montenegro, Canada, Malaysia, Argentina and Peru.

To formally address the issue, the MEI Organization, through its social media account, gave an official statement. 

“MEI Organization will ensure the safety of all our candidates. All accusations made publicly against us may have (been) taken out of proportion. We are trying our best to coordinate with everyone including the ladies who are still here in Egypt. And we have fulfilled our duties as promised. And we’re taking good care of all our infected queens,” MEI said.

“We thank all our national directors and candidates for their support and understanding. Our attorney in the US will start taking the legal process against the organization that post against us without any evidence,” it added.

Meanwhile, the national directors of Thailand and Peru have issued scathing statements against the organization. It was reported that they dropped the franchise and vowed not to field a candidate in the same pageant again.

As update, MEI Philippines national director Arnold Vegafria assured Filipino fans that Kelley is “doing okay healthy-wise.”

“[Kelley] is currently awaiting the results of her RT-PCR test, which should yield more conclusive results. However, she can’t fly to Manila just yet, since there are no available flights so far because of the ongoing ECQ lockdown,” Vegafria said.

“In the meantime, she remains safe and secure in her hotel where she is enjoying her extended vacation at the same time getting adequate attention to ensure her total wellness under the auspices and care of the MEI organizers,”

Pageant fans online suggested that the Philippines follow the decision of Thailand and Peru to stop sending delegates to MEI.

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Bernila Andal

By Bernila Andal

Atenio de Manila University – Quezon City A Filipino, Catholic university that has a grade school, high school, undergraduate and graduate programs in the arts, law, management, sciences, education, medicine, and government fields.