MANILA — The Philippines will be hosting the next Miss Universe pageant on Jan. 30, 2017, the Department of Tourism (DOT) announced Thursday rejecting reports that President Rodrigo Duterte was against the idea of holding the world’s most prestigious beauty pageant in the country.
“The Miss Universe beauty pageant will be on Jan. 30, 2017 here in the Philippines,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said in a press conference at the DOT headquarters in Makati City.
“We have a President that comes from Mindanao and our Miss Universe is from Mindanao so I think it is the best time for us to do Miss Universe in the Philippines,” she added.
Duterte hails from Davao while reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach hails from Cagayan De Oro.
Teo said that the private sector will be shouldering production costs of the pageant estimated at USD11 million which will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
She was mum when asked regarding the names of private companies who have confirmed shouldering the expenses but assured that they will reveal them soon.
Meanwhile, the Secretary said that ancillary Miss Universe events will possibly be held the country’s top tourist destinations namely Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Boracay, Cebu, Palawan and Vigan.
Tourism Undersecretary for Media Affairs Kat De Castro for her part stressed that the President never gave “no” for an answer when the idea of hosting the pageant was first proposed.
“There was never a ‘no’ from the President. His major concern was spending. But when we assure him that there will be no funding from the government, he said okay. We don’t know when the news report came that he didn’t like it,” De Castro said.
She further said that the DOT was initially privy on the details of officially hosting the pageant since it was waiting for the administrative order to be signed by the President.
However, the Tourism Secretary later sought Malacanang’s permission to finally announce the date to clarify that it will indeed push through.
De Castro said that the DOT has also gotten in touch with the Miss Universe Organization Vice President for Business Development and Marketing Shawn McClain to clarify the misunderstanding.
Teo earlier said that the country’s hosting of the Miss Universe pageant would give a big boost to businesses and livelihood of millions of Filipinos.
She further said that she expects the tourism industry to “gain tremendously” from it.
The Philippines already hosted the Miss Universe pageant twice, in 1974 and 1994. Azer Parrocha/PNA/northboundasia.com