By ROBERT R. REQUINTINA
A non-government organization for women has described Miss Universe Catriona Gray a brave person for speaking her mind on national issues.
“We commend her boldness for being brave in expressing her views for example what we all don’t want which is the criminalization of children and we welcome her views on the proposed measure to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old,” said Joms Salvador, secretary-general of Gabriela, during an exclusive interview at a news forum in Quezon City on Thursday.
Just like Gray, Gabriela is opposed to the measure to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old, Salvador said.
“Rehabilitation not criminalization. We know that sometimes pageant winners are constrained by their handlers in the industry. But Catriona was brave enough to give opinion and show her stand on the issue,” said Salvador.
Earlier, Gray said: “I would rather that the efforts be refocused to why those children may be committing those crimes. Because working with kids, you know that when they’re that young – when they’re 11, 12, or nine years old – they’re not developed in that way, cognitively, to make decisions knowing full well the consequences.”
“So I would rather address the focus to what can we do to get the children out of those circumstances that they may be pressured in that way to do something,” she said.
Salvador encouraged Gray to continue giving bolder statements “because she can really influence not just policy-makers.”
She cited the Filipino-Australian for working with the poor in Tondo, Manila.
“Young men and women idolize her. She has had tremendous work with the less fortunate, especially in Tondo, Manila where Gabriela has chapters. Yung mga Gabriela members sa Tondo, they saw her long before she competed in Miss Universe. So we know her work there, that she’s really concerned with the children. We encourage her to speak about the truth, especially by working with the poor of Tondo,” Salvador said.
Gabriela is a nationwide alliance of 200 women’s organizations in the country and various continents of the world.
Gray, 25, thanked those who supported Young Focus Philippines for covering all the financial needs of the children for 2019. She was a volunteer-teacher with the organization that helps children living in poverty.
“Reunited with my @youngfocusph family. I am so grateful and proud to learn that since winning @missuniverse, my young focus family has received amazing amounts of support. So much so that the entire financial needs for the year of 2019 has been covered. Thank you to all who have and continue to support the amazing work that they do! We’re not only looking for the silver lining but working together to create a silver lining for our country’s children,” said Gray on Instagram.