PRRD wants Steve Harvey out as host of Manila Miss U pageant

MANILA – If President Rodrigo Duterte will have his way, Steve Harvey should not be the emcee of the next Miss Universe pageant that the Philippines will host in January next year.

Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo said on Thursday that President Duterte will ask the Miss Universe organization to replace Harvey as host of the prestigious beauty pageant.

”When I called the President about that (Harvey as host), he has negative reaction. He said, no. He said,’ I’m going to talk to the Miss Universe organization because I don’t want him to be the host of the pageant,’” Teo said in a press briefing in Malacanang.

In the last Miss Universe pageant held in Las Vegas, Nevada, Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the 2015 Miss Universe and Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach as the first runner-up.

Moments after crowning Miss Colombia, Harvey corrected himself and announced that Wurtzbach was the real winner.

It was the Philippines’ first Miss Universe pageant title since Margie Moran’s crown in 1973. The county’s first title was won by Gloria Diaz in 1969.

Teo said Harvey will definitely host the Miss Universe pageant in Manila since he has a five-year contract as host of Miss Universe.

”So that’s my problem. I said (to President), he is under contract and the President said: ‘It’s okay, I will be talking to the Miss Universe organizers,” Teo told the media about her predicament.

Teo said she might request the Miss Universe organizers to assign a local female celebrity as co-host of Harvey and hoping that President Duterte would agree to her proposal.

”So I think to balance and so that he will not get mad, we will have somebody from here (in the Philippines), probably a woman as co-host,” she explained.

Harvey reportedly said he will take the opportunity as host again of Miss Universe to personally apologize to the Filipinos for the mistake in Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, Teo assured that the government will not spend any money for the hosting of the Miss Universe.

She said the group of former Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson is raising the USD11 million budget for the hosting of the Miss Universe pageant.

Teo said the Miss Universe organizers have picked the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City as venue of the coronation night on January 30.

The DOT official said President Duterte’s hometown Davao City and three other cities– Cebu, Iloilo and Vigan have been chosen as Manila’s co-hosts of the event slated from January 13 to 30.

”They (Miss Universe candidates) will go places. We have identified these cities but there are other cities that would like to host but then, so far, this the final list and then, the main event will be in Manila,” Teo said.

”I’m sure that after the Miss Universe, the Philippines will be in the world map. Everybody will be looking at us because during the Miss Universe contest, all the beautiful places, the destinations will be featured,” she added.

For security preparation, she said they have been coordinating with the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

”We’re not actually worried about that (ISIS threat) because the military will take care of that. We’ve been coordinating, we’ve been meeting with the National Security Council,” Teo said. Jelly Musico/PNA/