It’s final: Tourism dept assures PHL hosting of Miss U with Steve Harvey as emcee

MANILA, Philippines — Amid rumors that the Philippine hosting of the next Miss Universe pageant will be cancelled, the Department of Tourism (DOT) assured on Thursday that it will definitely push through and hinted at the possibility that American host Steve Harvey may have a Filipino co-host.

“I happily welcome, on behalf of the Department of Tourism, the latest announcement of the Miss Universe Organization thru Ms. Pia Wurtzbach — that finally, the Philippines will, indeed, play host to the much awaited 2016 Miss Universe pageant,” Teo said in a press conference.

She described the hosting of the event as not only an opportunity to showcase the wonders of the Philippines to the international community but also to witness the reigning Miss Universe pass the crown to her successor.

“This is one proud moment for all of us, Filipinos, to bear witness to our reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of Cagayan de Oro City as she takes her final walk and passes on her crown to her successor, where else, but in her home country, the Philippines,” she added.

Teo said that the coronation night will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena on January 30, 2017.

She also confirmed that Harvey will reprise his role as host of the pageant. Asked by media if Harvey would have a Filipino co-host, Teo said that she would still have to ask the Miss Universe Organization (MUO).

To recall, President Rodrigo Duterte previously expressed disapproval of Harvey as pageant host after the latter incorrectly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the 2015 Miss Universe and Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach as the first runner-up during last year’s pageant held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Teo has since convinced the President to give Harvey another shot at hosting the pageant, noting that Harvey is on a five-year contract to host it and has already apologized for his major blunder.

The tourism chief further said that Cebu and Bohol are among the confirmed venues for the ancillary events.

Meanwhile, the three major islands of the Philippines (Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao) will be well represented and visited by the Miss Universe candidates.

The DOT earlier assured that the government will not be spending a single centavo since the private sector will be shouldering the pageant’s estimated USD11 million production cost.

The Philippines has hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1974 and in 1994. Azer Parrocha/