Courtesy Call of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray
Quezon City Reception House

Good morning, everyone! Kindly take your seats. Maupo po tayong lahat.

Magandang umaga sa inyong lahat! We would like to welcome Catriona Gray to the Office of the Vice President. Palakpakan po natin siya. [applause]

This is a very special time for all of us, Catriona. I was telling Catriona earlier—Jules, inextra na kita—sabi ko some members of the OVP family, nag-check-in pa sa hotel noong pageant night ni Catriona, just to have a viewing party. So siya iyong head ng aming welcoming committee. [laughter] Ayan, si Jules iyon. 

But the reason why this morning is very special to us, because we all know how hectic your schedule is. That is why I was asking you earlier if you are too tired already. Sabi mo okay lang. Sobrang ganda pa din kahit pagod. But this is our opportunity to tell you how proud you make all of us—[applause]—not only because you won the crown, but also because you presented the best of the Filipino. [applause

What we’re presenting to you this morning, in our very short program, are things that we would want to share with you, because we really some similar advocacies. Iyong pinakauna, iyong advocacy with regards to children. Iyong mga tumugtog kanina, si Serge—Serge, tayo ka, Serge [applause]—Serge Aclan is a 4th-year medical student. Pero siya, he founded Project Gifted, and organized the Lipa City Youth Orchestra. It is training public school children and out-of-school youth, number one, to steer them away from vices, and number two, to promote their mental health and social well-being. Hindi pa ito alam, Catriona, ni Serge, but the piano that was used this morning, we are donating to the Lipa City Youth Orchestra. [applause] Ito, Serge, we wanted to hand it over to you this morning because Catriona is here, and she is an advocate for children. Pero itong piano na ito is not from us, but it was turned over to us by The Phantom of the Opera production. [applause] Binili po ito ng Phantom of the Opera for their rehearsals, but the show is ongoing now and they donated it to us, and we decided to donate it to a community that could make good use of the piano. So we hope that this piano is not only a parang memorabilia of Catriona’s visit to us, but also the fact that the three institutions share the same advocacy. 

Iyong pangalawa, I don’t know if it’s there already, but we want to present to you, ito— Ay, sige, ito muna. Ito muna… Our office— Siguro, I’m not sure if you’re familiar with how the Office of the Vice President in the Philippines is, but it’s quite different from the office of the vice presidents in other countries, because, in the Philippines, halos walang… the Office of the Vice President… The Vice President has been relegated to almost a spare tire, because there’s no real obligation as to how the Vice President will perform government… governmental functions. But when we assumed office, we decided to turn the office into a more advocacy-heavy office. So we started an anti-poverty program called Angat Buhay. Our advocacy for the children is under our Angat Buhay program. 

And we have another advocacy helping weaving communities, cultural communities. And what we will be giving you this morning, alam ko during the pageant, you also exhibited many of our textiles. What we’ll be presenting to you this morning is a product of one of our communities from Marawi City. This is called “landap,” and it’s a malong, which has Maranao origins. So this— Ay, ipapakita pa pala. [laughter] Pero ito, this is also special to us because this represents the Maranao community in Marawi, and this is called landap. So we’ll be giving this to you.

And iyong pinakahuli naming surprise, I don’t know if you actually know that there is actually a Catriona robot. Ito, mga bata din ito, Catriona. We will be showing this to you. [laughter] Ito, this robot was created by schoolchildren. Ito iyong schoolchildren. Nasira—nasira siya, Catriona, ng aming staff. [laughter] Nagla-lava walk siya, nagla-lava walk. But we couldn’t repair it this morning. But this is a creation of the students of Dr. Yanga College in Bulacan. They’re all robotics champions. They just won 2nd place in Thailand. And when we did the courtesy call here, this was their gift to me. [laughter] So noong pupunta ka, sabi ko, “Ipakita natin sa kaniya iyong Catriona doll.” But I am so sorry it can’t do your lava walk this morning. But kaya namin siya pinapakita, because tamang-tama sa advocacy for our children.

So we want to thank you for giving us this honor. And we want to thank you for giving us this opportunity to thank you in person, for making us proud to be Filipinos. For giving us a reason to be united again this morning. 

Kaya maraming, maraming salamat sa iyo! [applause]