The Miss Universe franchise is still with Binibining Pilipinas Charities Inc. (BPCI).
The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) confirmed this to ABS-CBN News' MJ Felipe this Sunday amid speculations that a group headed by former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis Chavit Singson is taking over as the beauty pageant's local franchisee.
MUO said they will be continuing their partnership with BPCI, which began in 1964. This means that the BPCI maintains the right to select candidates for Miss Universe.
MUO, in the same statement, did acknowledge Singson's valuable support, thanking the politician and his LCS Group for making the Miss Universe 2016 pageant in Manila possible.
Singson has been rumored to be in talks with MUO about possibly acquiring the Philippine franchise of the pageant. He fueled this speculation when he accompanied Catriona Gray in her return home to Manila after she was crowned the 2018 titlist.
"In our continuing efforts to build and evolve the Miss Universe brand in the Philippines, MUO has explored many options and opportunities to enhance Binibining [Pilipinas] and grow it into a dynamic, multi-faceted platform," MUO said.
"While exploring these opportunities, we sought the input of all of our partners and will continue to do so. ...We look forward to the collaboration and innovation to bring an exciting future to Miss Universe Philippines and our beloved fans in the country."