Filipino comedienne Pokwang on Wednesday offered refuge to Miss Myanmar who spoke out about the ruling junta in her country at Miss Universe, earning praise from the Philippines' top envoy.
Thuzar Wint Luwin also known as Candy had said that she feared for her safety should she return home after the pageant in the U.S. last Sunday (Monday in Manila)
"Bukas ang aking tahanan para sa iyo Miss Myanmar," said Pokwang, Marietta Subong in real life.
Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin Jr. called it an act "in true Filipino spirit." He earlier called for de-escalation of tensions in Myanmar.
Milk Tea Alliance, an online coalition of pro-democracy youth activists from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, and Myanmar, took notice of the "heartwarming" offer.
Media reports said the 22-year-old Thuzar snuck out of Myanmar wearing a hoodie and sunglasses to participate in the 69th Miss Universe. After losing her luggage with her original national costume in it, she wore an alternate Burmese ethnic outfit to the world stage, with a sign saying "Pray for Myanmar." She won the national costume competition and made it to the Top 21.
Thanking fans, she said on Instagram: "It's more than a costume. It's a message, spirit and solidarity."
Myanmar's military arrested opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and civilian leaders in February. Thuzar was part of succeeding protests against the junta, documenting the resistance on social media.
"I decided to spend all my savings helping the families of the deceased and the brave protestors who are risking their lives out there," she said in a video uploaded on Facebook days before the coronation.
"No matter what, I still try to make it to Miss Universe competition, and hoping it will give me an opportunity to let the world know of our country and how our freedoom, human rights, and right to live are threatened," Thuzar said.
Thuzar told the New York Times that she does not know where she will go after the pageant. Other media reports said an arrest warrant has been issued for her.
The military reportedly issued an arrest warrant for another Myanmar beauty queen, Han Lay, who also spoke up against the junta when she took the Miss Grand International stage in March.
MORE MISS UNIVERSE STORIES