MANILA – Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach had a Facebook Live session on Wednesday (Manila time) from her apartment in New York, where she announced that she will return to the Philippines “very, very soon.”
Just last week, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo told ABS-CBN News that Wurtzbach is set to meet President Rodrigo Duterte on July 18 to discuss the possibility of staging the 2017 Miss Universe pageant here in the Philippines.
Referring to the talks, Wurtzbach told her Facebook Live audience: “You know what, I’m still waiting for the confirmation on when it’s going to happen. Right now it’s in the works, but hopefully, fingers crossed, it’s the one that I’ve been praying for.”
“I guess you know what that is, so let’s just hope for the best,” she added.
Teo wants next year’s Miss Universe to be moved to May instead of January if it would be held in the Philippines. She cited other big events scheduled in the country in January such as the Chinese New Year celebration and the Sinulog festival.
(WATCH: New tourism chief wants Miss Universe pageant held in PH)
According to Tourism Undersecretary Kat de Castro, they are looking at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City and the Philippine Arena in Bulacan as potential venues for Miss Universe 2017.
But they need an executive order from the President to be able to hold the pageant in the country with help from the private sector, which is expected to provide a budget of $10 million to $12 million.
In a previous interview with ABS-CBN News, Miss Universe president Paula Shugart said she believes that this is the right time to hold the pageant in the Philippines.
“For years, I’ve talked about someday having the pageant here. I do know with Pia right now, the entire worldwide focus is on the Philippines. I think it’s a great opportunity. I would love to be able to make it work. We’ll see,” Shugart said. – With a report from Mario Dumaual, ABS-CBN News