Filipino new Miss International

AFP-JIJI

A Philippine beauty queen was crowned the new Miss International in a pageant marred by allegations of intimidation that kept her predecessor away.

The new winner pledged to use her title to help typhoon victims in her home country.

“This is my dream. Thank you Japan for giving it to me,” an ecstatic Bea Rose Santiago said at the event held Tuesday evening in Tokyo.

In a break with pageant custom, she was crowned by Spain’s 2008 Miss International and not by her immediate predecessor, who was barred from the glitzy show.

Departing title-holder Ikumi Yoshimatsu told journalists this week that she had been asked by organizers to stay away from the event.

Yoshimatsu said since winning she has faced a running battle to maintain her independence from the management agencies that form the backbone of Japan’s entertainment industry.