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Pia to meet Duterte on July 18 for staging of Miss Universe in PH

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach

President Rodrigo Duterte and reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach are set to meet on July 18 to discuss the possible staging of the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines in January 2017.

This was revealed by Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo during an exclusive interview on ANC Wednesday night.

“At least may kasama akong makiusap sa presidente because I really want the project. It will be an honor to come back to the Philippines and crown whoever wins,” said Teo, who is pushing for the staging of the Miss Universe contest here.

But Teo said that the problem would be the date set by the Miss Universe Organization for the grand coronation:

January 29, 2017. She wanted the beauty pageant moved to May 2017.

“Ang problem natin, too soon. May Sinulog, Chinese New Year. Medyo gipit. So siguro, we will ask them to move it to probably May, will be the best month but I will have to ask the approval of the President kasi executive order din yan,” Teo said.

The new tourism chief also said that she plans a provincial tour for the pageant which she believes will help marginalized workers nationwide.

“Hindi lang naka-focus sa Manila. Gagawin din natin in Davao, Cebu, mga ganon. Iikot namig para makilala ang ibang provinces. I really want that everybody earn a living, hindi lang ‘yung mga operators, ‘yung mga travel agencies, mga hotels. I want it to go down to the grass roots para matulungan ’yung mga mahihirap,” Teo added.

Teo said that a budget of $12 million (roughly over P500,000,000 million) is needed to stage the Miss Universe contest and half of the total amount has been covered.

“Half of that may kumuha na, so ilan na lang hahabulin and then so $6 million. Medyo madali na lang habulin. Ang dami naman diyan na gusto talaga, willing to join,” she said.

“It’s not a closed 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 then.

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

Paula Schugart, Miss Universe Organization president, said that it would be a great opportunity for the Philippines to stage the pageant for the third time.

Teo has a soft heart for beauty pageants when she became a candidate for Bb. Pilipinas in 1972.

In the 64 years of the contest, the Miss Universe pageant has been held in the Philippines twice – 1974 and 1994.

Aside from Wurtzbach, the two other Miss Universe from the Philippines are Gloria Diaz (1969) and Margie Moran (1973). Wurtzbach is now based in New York City for the duration of her reign as Miss Universe.

Maxine Medina, the country’s representative to the Miss Universe 2016 beauty pageant, has also confirmed that talks are on-going but nothing is final yet for the staging of the Miss Universe beauty contest in the Philippines.