AFDQ finalists push for investment in education
MANILA, Philippines — The search for the 2022 Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen (AFDQ) is currently underway and organizer Manila Broadcasting Co. (MBC) has presented the 12 finalists vying for the crown this year, among them are two alumnae of the University of the Philippines (UP) — Maica Cabling Martinez from Nueva Ecija and Dana Gabrielle Tautho from Davao City.
The two ladies joined their fellow finalists at a virtual press conference conducted on Sept. 15, where reigning queen Shanyl Kayle Hofer also made an appearance online.
The Inquirer asked the two “iskolar ng bayan” (people’s scholars) about their thoughts on the proposed budget cut for UP in the General Appropriations Act of 2023 filed in Congress.
Under the proposed measure by the Department of Budget and Mangement, UP will get a P23.1 billion budget next year, down by P2.5 billion from this year’s allocation of P25.6 billion. As a result, the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) will also suffer a budget cut of P893 million. The public medical facility is under the state university.
“We should put high priority on education. Especially as [a scholar] I’ve seen how important facilities, classrooms, and materials are, they have an impact on learning and the youth,” said Martinez, who holds a broadcasting communication degree from UP Diliman and is currently working for the government.
“As an ‘iskolar ng bayan,’ I know the importance of education, especially to the youth, and shape the future leaders of our country,” continued Martinez, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in anthropology, also in UP Diliman.
For Tautho, “government should give importance to education. It is important to have access to education.”
The licensed geologist holds a master’s degree in urban planning from UP, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in development studies at the Ateneo de Davao University.
“Not having the privilege or having comfort to go to school and having things complete, for me it is very important that we invest in education,” added Tautho, who works as an environmental consultant for Ridge to Reef, and supports the Matigsalug Tribe’s Council of Elders in Marilog district.
The 12 AFDQ finalists were introduced in a special pageant primer “Journey to the Crown,” during the first episode “Meet the Queens,” streamed on MBC’s digital platforms and the pageant’s Facebook page on Sept. 17. The primer’s second episode “Queens for a Cause” streams on Sept. 24. And on Oct. 1, watch the third episode “The Making of a Queen” with pageant mentor Rodgil Flores of the “Kagandahang Flores” beauty camp.
The Aliwan Fiesta Digital Queen will win P50,000 in cash, with an equivalent amount going to her chosen charity program. She will have a paid vacation for two at Feliz Hotel Boracay, inclusive of airfare and pocket money. Pageant sponsors will also provide gifts for the new queen. JB
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