REIGNING MISS UNIVERSE title holder Pia Wurtzbach.
By JO ERLINDA G. NEBRES
MANILA — The Philippines is ready to host the next Miss Universe beauty pageant in 2017 where the reigning holder of the crown, Filipina Pia Wurtzbach, is to transfer the crown to the winner.
This as President Rodrigo Duterte has approved in principle the country’s hosting of the pageant upon the recommendation of the new chief of the Department of Tourism as the President met Wurtzbach and Miss Universe officials during a call in Malacanang.
It was learned that the private sector has been asked and has agreed to shoulder the production costs of potential hosting of the forthcoming Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines next year.
New Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Teo announced the private sector’s role in a press conference after her meeting with reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach at the DOT main office in Makati City.
The DOT earlier said that President Duterte has so far “approved in principle” the hosting of the Miss Universe pageant in the country but plans are yet to be finalized and confirmed with the Miss Universe Organization.
“We are really hopeful that the President will grant our request, especially now that the private sector have come together to shoulder the production costs of Miss Universe,” Teo said.
“This undertaking would practically entail no expense on the part of the government,” she added noting that the event would give a big boost to businesses and livelihood of millions of Filipinos.
Teo said that she was “overwhelmed” by the presence of the reigning Miss Universe, stressing that it was she who had “taken up the cudgels and leadership to make this happen.”
“If this translates to reality, our tourism industry stands to gain tremendously,” Teo said.
“I’m so proud and grateful of the full support she is giving us in our efforts to host the upcoming Miss Universe contest in the country,” she added.
Wurtzbach said that she was “happy to be back home” since her last visit to the Philippines was during the coronation night of the Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Philippines) pageant last April.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be ambassador for the Philippines and to promote tourism. I still continue on pursing that goal of being an ambassador as I go throughout my reign and visit different countries around the world,” Wurtzbach said.
“It’s no secret that it’s my personal dream and the dream of majority of Filipinos that someday we’ll see the Miss Universe (pageant) to be held here and we’re keeping our fingers crossed,” she added.
The 26-year-old beauty queen said that even after the next Miss Universe is crowned, her duty to promote the Philippines will not end there.
“It doesn’t end when I pass up my crown. I will still wear the Philippines wherever I go,” she said.
Wurtzbach arrived in the Philippines from New York City last Saturday (July 16) and called on President Duterte in Malacañang on Monday, July 18, where they discussed the possible hosting of the pageant in the country.