CEBU CITY, Philippines—Binibining Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) issued a statement on Monday, October 21, 2019, after beauty queen Samantha Ashley Lo wrote in an Instagram post that her “local organizer” did not assist her when she was detained in Paris.
In a statement posted on the Binibining Pilipinas official Facebook page, BPCI said the organization is aware of the “unfortunate incident” involving Lo, who currently holds the Binibining Pilipinas Grand International 2019 title.
BPCI also confirmed that Lo was detained by immigration officials in Paris and was sent back to Manila because of issues involving her Philippine passport.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) later issued a statement that Lo was not in their passport database.
BPCI revealed that they met with Lo’s parents and DFA officials last week.
In the meeting, BPCI said that Lo’s parents admitted that the beauty queen “secured her passport through a fixer.”
“Ms. Lo also holds a US passport and therefore, a transit visa is not needed. Past Binibini Queens have done this and have encountered no problems in their travels without transit visas,” the BPCI statement reads.
BPCI also denied Lo’s claim that the organization did nothing to assist her.
BPCI, led by Madame Stella Marquez-Araneta, further said that they called the DFA to assist Lo upon learning about her situation in Paris.
“We are grateful for the intervention of Undersecretary [Brigido] Dulay, which otherwise would have resulted in very serious consequences for Samantha,” the organization said.
BPCI said they wanted to support Lo and resolve the issue but they have been unable to reach her family.
When Lo posted on Saturday night, October 19, that she was in Caracas, Venezuela, BPCI said they were” glad to know” that she was safe and warmly welcomed by the Miss Grand International (MGI) organization.
Since news of a “missing” Lo started surfacing after she had an official send-off last October 9, BPCI has not issued any statement or comment involving Lo or her situation.
But all changed because of Lo’s Instagram post.
“We had chosen not to make any statements in deference to an ongoing investigation into the matter and to protect Samantha’s privacy after revelations of a fake passport had put her in this situation.”
“However, due to her social media post, BPCI is forced to make a statement to ensure that only facts are presented, nothing else,” the statement further reads.
The BPCI management ended the statement on a strong note, emphasizing that the organization has been sending Filipina delegates to international beauty pageants for more than 50 years.
“… we have always adhered to mm travel requirements set by the countries where our Binibinis compete. Through all this, BPCI stands by integrity, honesty, and the best of the Filipino values in its dealing with people and other organizations,” BPCI said.
Currently, Lo is set to compete in the National Costume competition in the MGI 2019 pageant.
Her swimsuit photo also ranked first in the Facebook voting poll. The coronation night will be held on October 25. /bmjo