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PH needs US$12M to host Miss Universe

THE Philippines would be needing more than $12 million (roughly P540 million) to stage the 2016 Miss Universe pageant, an industry source said yesterday.

“It was five years ago when the computation was placed at $12 million. Perhaps the figures have changed now. It could even go higher than P500 million,” the same source explained.

The $12-million figure was based on the 2011 computed budget of Panama for the staging of the Miss Universe pageant in 2013.

But in 2011, Panama dropped its plan to stage the popular show because the government could not afford it.

“We don’t even have $12 million for our annual advertising project,” said Salo Shamah, former head of Panama’s Tourism Administration.

“Even if private companies were able to fund half the money that is needed, it is still a big hit to our government budget,” former Panama President Ricardo Martinelli said in 2011.

That time, the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) was owned by billionaire Donald Trump, who is now a candidate for the Republican nomination for President of the United States in 2016.

In September 2015, Trump has sold the MUO, that includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA contests, to the WME/IMG agency.

Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach has been in the forefront of the campaign to stage the 2016 Miss Universe contest in the Philippines.

But the Filipino-German beauty queen said that the project is still under negotiations.

“It’s not a close deal yet. But I am actively campaigning for it. All of us in the Miss Universe Organization, we want the Miss Universe pageant here in the Philippines. Ito ang No. 1 choice namin. No. 1 on our list. And we are really trying to find ways on making it happen,” Wurtzbach told ABS-CBN.

The beauty queen said that the staging of the show also needs the approval of government and the private sector.

“How do we make that happen? We need the nod of the government. We need the help of the private sector. We need sponsors and people to get interested to reach out and unite to make it happen here. It would he such a pleasure for me to pass on my crown here in the Philippines. It would be great for tourism. It’s about time that we have it here,” Wurtzbach said.

It was reported in another news program, however, that Miss Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz is opposed to the staging of the contest this year saying that there are more pressing issues in the country that need to be addressed.

Reacting to the comment of Diaz, the country’s first Miss Universe, Wurtzbach told GMA-7: “Hopefully, kung makukuha natin yung nod by Board of Tourism, and the government, and the private sector, the sponsor and everyone who wants to get involved, we can get the pageant here and imbitahin natin s’ya (Diaz).”

It was in 2014 when rumors about the third staging of the Miss Universe contest in Manila swirled.

The last time the Miss Universe contest was staged in Manila was in 1994 in which Sushmita Sen of India was crowned.

The Miss Universe contest was held in the Philippines for the first time in 1974. The late Amparo Munoz of Spain won the title.