MANILA – Will President Rodrigo Duterte be one of the judges in the upcoming Miss Universe Pageant in the Philippines?
Tourism Undersecretary Kat De Castro said the Miss Universe Organization has a rule that no one from the host country should judge the pageant.
She, however, said the government is aware that organizers would welcome the president's participation in the event. However, they are not yet sure about what will be the final arrangement.
"Well, I think his, his men are aware that we would like him to be part of you know, to judge it or just even to watch it. But he has not yet given us a concrete answer altogether," she said.
De Castro said the president agreed to the Philippine hosting of the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant in 2017 as long as the pageant does not inconvenience the public or cause the hiding of eyesores.
De Castro said Duterte did not like what happened during the visits of US President Barack Obama and Pope Francis, and the Philippine hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit where street dwellers were picked up by authorities and taken to resorts to keep them from being public eyesores.
She also recalled that Duterte asked that the swimsuit portions of the pageant be done in Cebu instead of Davao where the wearing of swimsuit is banned.
The Philippine National Police has said that no streets will be closed for the pageant. De Castro said that pageant activities will be confined to the Mall of Asia Arena to minimize traffic.
Interior Undersecretary Emily Padilla assured the public there is no specific security threat to the pageant.
Padilla said the PNP has held a command conference to map out the security plans for all provinces. She said strict and elaborate security measures are in place to prevent lawless elements from taking advantage of the event.
Tourism Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre, meanwhile, said one challenge is securing the candidates while still giving access to the public who may want to take have pictures taken with them.
CANDIDATES BEGIN ARRIVING
The first two candidates to participate in the 2017 pageant arrived earlier today, Ms. New Zealand, Tanya Pauline Dawson, and Ms. USA, Deshauna Barber.
Ten more candidates are expected to arrive today ahead of the kick-off party at the Conrad Hotel tomorrow. The party will be open to the public.
De Castro said the candidates will be here for a week and will travel to different tourist spots in the country such as Siargao, Cebu, Vigan and Manila.
She also said that the pageant is expected to boost tourist arrivals in the country since the pageant has 90 candidates.
The candidates will pay a courtesy call on the president on January 23.
De Castro said the contestants will shoot in different locations and the video will be shown during the pageant night. She said the Miss Universe spectacle is from January 13 to 30.
This is the 3rd time the country will host the Miss Universe. The first two happened in 1974 and 1994.