Herlene “Hipon Girl” Budol has withdrawn from the Miss Planet International pageant “[due] to uncertainties by the organizers.”
In a Facebook post, her manager Wilbert Tolentino said that “despite numerous [attempts] to fix some [pageant debacles, it] seems like the Ugandan [government] has no initiative to intervene.”
He apologized to Herlene’s supporters, team, sponsors, and designers. “Thank you and I am sorry,” he said.
“Thank you to the Filipino community in Uganda for the comfort and well wishes ... for protecting and keeping my queen, Herlene and her team safe," he added.
Wilbert said that as MPP National Director, he is "very hurt."
"Not only [did we lose] a crown, [we lost] money, [lost] effort; but [also lost] time."
Despite this major setback, Wilbert said that they will never lose hope, “because we have [a] bright future back home [that] awaits.”
He added, “This is indeed a traumatic experience for all of us, but we fought for it until the end. And that is our mission.”
Prior to her withdrawal, Herlene’s national costume failed to make it to Uganda in one piece, causing distress.
The pageant’s coronation night was scheduled for November 19. —Nika Roque/JCB, GMA Integrated News