Philippines' representative Police Officer (PO2) Neil Perez brought honor to the country Saturday as he bagged the Mister International 2014/15 title during the coronation night in Ansan, South Korea.
The victory of the 29-year-old cop from Tondo, whose real name is Mariano Perez Flormata, Jr., was a respite from the death of his 44 comrades in the police force, the worst crisis to hit the Philippine National Police in recent years.
LOOK: Follow Neil Perez's journey to Mister International through selfies
Before he left for Korea, Neil told ABS-CBN newscast TV Patrol that he is dedicating the competition to the Special Action Force commandos who were killed in a clash with armed groups in Mamasapano, Maguindanao.
A bomb and explosive technician with the PNP Aviation Security group, Neil said some of the fallen commandos were his batchmates from the Mabalasik Class in 2008.
"Ipinapangako ko na dadalhin ko ang korona, ang titulo dito sa bansa," he said.
A first for the country
Neil is the 9th Mister International and the first Filipino to win the title. 2013 Mister Philippines Gil Wagas was named 4th runner-up during the last edition of the male pageant.
He bested 42 other representatives from different countries.
Mister Lebanon was named as first runner-up, followed by Czech Republic, Poland and Slovenia.
Most Stylish award went to Korea. Japan is Mr. Photogenic, Colombia is Mr. Congeniality, while Bahamas won Best in National Costume.