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Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo: ‘Resiliency is overused. We need tangible and visible solutions’

By PINKY S. ICAMEN Published Nov 16, 2020 1:05 am

Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo weighed in on the much-debated term “Filipino resilience” during an interview with GMA-7’s Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho (KMJS) that aired Sunday evening.

In the interview (conducted a day before Rabiya’s Iloilo homecoming), host Jessica Soho asked Rabiya what’s the biggest challenge she has gone through in her life.

Rabiya answered that it was during Super Typhoon Yolanda, which directly hit her hometown of Balasan, Iloilo. She said the typhoon almost toppled their house and they wrote on the roads the words “we need help” and “we need food” as they pleaded for assistance.

“Now that there are typhoons Rolly and Ulysses, I really feel the suffering of our kababayans,” said Rabiya, who launched a donation drive for the victims of the said typhoons.

During the interview, Jessica Soho also mentioned how others perceive Filipinos’ resiliency.

Miss Universe Philippines 2020 Rabiya Mateo in an interview with Jessica Soho. Screenshot from Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho

Rabiya weighed in: “’Yung resiliency, overused siya (resiliency is overused). To the point that sometimes, we don’t look at the problems to find the solution. And we just tell other people that all we need to do is have a positive mindset and we’re going to overcome this. But where are the tangible programs to help the people being affected by such situations?”

Rabiya clarified that it helps to have a positive mindset, but she also stressed that “kailangan natin magkaroon ng tangible and visible solution. Hindi tayo mag-llearn, hindi natin mapapabuti ang community natin if puro resiliency nalang (we need tangible and visible solutions. We will not learn, we will not be able to improve our community if we settle on resiliency).”

Whenever calamities strike the country, the term “Filipino resilience” is almost always used to rally the public as a message that Filipinos can survive whatever adversities they are facing. Even Pope Francis, during his visit to the country in 2015, spoke about his admiration for this Filipino trait, especially during the Super Typhoon Yolanda.

Recently, celebrities like actress Nadine Lustre and Miss International 2016 Kylie Verzosa took to social media to speak on the issue.

Nadine said on an Instagram post, “Our country has been thru so much issues (calamity, pandemic, economy, job losses) and it upsets me so much when people pull out 'Filipino Resiliency' as a quick fix.”

Meanwhile, Kylie reposted a message to “stop glorifying resiliency” and focus on what will help people in the long run.