A report from the Bombo Radyo station said Raj was given a Philippine passport by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) head office in Manila morning on Friday. http://gulfnews.com
By Gilbert P. Felongco, Correspondent
Published: 00:00 May 22, 2010
Maria Venus Bayonito Raj
Image Credit: Supplied picture
Manila: The Department of Foreign Affairs has issued a passport to Maria Venus Bayonito Raj, thus allowing the Filipina-Indian beauty to take part in the August Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas.
A report from the Bombo Radyo station said Raj was given a Philippine passport by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) head office in Manila morning on Friday.
DFA's issuance of the travel document came at the end of a several weeks long nationality debate concerning the 22 year old.
Raj had been formally crowned to represent the country in the Miss Universe pageant last March 6, but her title was withheld by local organisers of the pageant, Binibining Pilipinas Charities (BPCI) after it noted several "inconsistencies" on the her birth records.
Reports said Raj was born in Qatar to a Filipina mother and an Indian father.
The beauty title hopeful said that her father and her mother had separated when she was just several weeks old.
Raj even went as far as threatening to take the issue to the courts if the BPCI persisted on withholding her title.
The case involving Raj caught the attention if the Philippine Commission on Human Rights which gave the opinion that the beauty title's rights were violated when she had been stripped of her title without the benefit of having her side heard.
On April 10, the BPCI relented and said that: "After due deliberation, we have reassessed the situation pertaining to Miss Maria Venus Raj and have decided, for humanitarian reasons, that if she is able to obtain a valid Philippine passport, we will reinstate her as the reigning Bb Pilipinas-Universe."
The issuance of a passport by the government means that it is necessary for Raj to satisfy the requirements of being a Filipino citizen, which includes having been born to either or both her parents being a Filipino.
The DFA, in early May, formally announced that it will issue a passport to Raj.