A 24-year old fashion design student is the new Reyna Dabawenya.

Sheila Magpale III bested 19 other candidates during the pageant’s coronation night at the RMC Gazz Arena on Wednesday.

Magpale impressed the judges with her answer to the last question of the night which asked the finalists to state what they think the local government should do to “promote gender inclusivity” and address transphobia. She outrightly answered the need to enact the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Anti-Discrimination Ordinance of 2012.

“I will work with the local government of Davao City to help enact the Implementing Rules and Regulations of our anti-discrimination ordinance for us to be fully protected, not only the LGBT community but the rest of society,” Magpale said in an interview with the media after winning the crown.

“I am truly grateful to our local government unit in Davao City that we have been given this platform to be recognized and be visible in the society,” she added. “I will collaborate with our local barangays to amplify allies with the LGBT community in each barangay in our city.

First runner-up Gretchen Alngog, a 40-year-old entrepreneur, also thanked the local government for making this year’s Reyna Dabawenya more inclusive.

“I’m so glad that the City Tourism Office has amended the qualifications for this year’s Reyna Dabawenya, because previously it was only up to 28 years old. Happy kaayo ko kay they are welcoming transwomen like me and we are able to represent ourselves,” said Alngog.

Daizy Marie Beronio was chosen second runner-up.

Vice Mayor J Melchor Quitain, in his speech, said that although the pageant only proclaimed one winner, all participants to this year’s Reyna Dabawenya should also call themselves winners for claiming their space in society and making their voices be heard.

He added that the Reyna Dabawenya is not just a beauty pageant but a means to educate the larger public on gender identity and promote equality in the city.

Aside from a title and a crown, the top winners also received cash prizes from the local government. The Reyna Dabawenya received P200,000, the first runner-up received P150,000, while the second runner up received P100,000. CIO