Miss Puerto Princesa Imelda Schweighart was crowned Miss Philippines Earth 2016 at the conclusion of the Independence Day-themed coronation night held June 11 at the UP Theater in Quezon City.
The 21-year-old theater arts student and former Bb Pilipinas candidate bested 45 other delegated from around the country and Filipino overseas communities for the right to represent the country at the Miss Earth 2016 pageant. She succeeds reigning Miss Earth Angelia Gabrena Ong and will get a shot at winning the international title for the third consecutive year.
Kiaragiel Gregorio from London was named Miss Philippines-Air 2016 while crowd favorite Miss Laoag City Loren Mar Artajos bagged the Miss Philippines-Water 2016 title. Shannon Rebecca Bridgman from Rosales, Pangasinan and Melanie Mader from Vienna, Austria were crowned Miss Philippines-Fire and Miss Philippines Eco-Tourism 2016, respectively. Pageant Focus by Haraya correctly predicted the placements of Scweighart and Gregorio.
The rest of the 12 semifinalists were: Krissandra Marie Abel (Lobo, Batangas), Joanna Rose Tolledo (Caloocan City), Athena Mari Catriz (City of San Pedro), Maria Fatima Al-sowyed (Dumaguete City), Charinna Barro (Cagayan de Oro City), Jessica Zevenbergen (Murcia, Negros Occidental) and Bellatrix Tan (Zamboanga City).
This year’s Miss Philippines Earth introduced a new format to the Q&A round, where the girls were asked to pick a hashtag from a bowl and speak about that trending topic. Asked to give her thoughts on the hashtag #TunayNaDiwaNgKalayaan, Schweighart said that the true meaning of freedom is “opening up our minds”.
“First of all, we must open our minds and do our research about the world in order to find the solution to what is already happening to what is around us. Yes, there is a problem, but there is a solution as well. Let’s all fight together, because we are the people of now, and we will help each other to save the planet Earth,” she added.
The Top 5 finalists were asked a single question during the final round: “If you had the chance to talk one-on-one with president-elect Duterte, what assistance would you ask from him on your climate change advocacy?”
Schweighart replied: “My climate change advocacy is banning genetically modified organisms (GMO) and genetically modified seeds, because I believe in natural food in order to feed our mind, body, and soul. So if we really want to feed our minds and become smarter, let’s support banning GMO, [president-elect] Duterte. At the same time, I would like to encourage him to put bike lanes here in Manila, and I would take him to Puerto Princesa and I would show him how clean our place is.”