MAKATI, PHILIPPINES — IT’S OFFICIAL. The 65th edition of the annual Miss Universe pageant will be held in the Philippines.
The local organizers, major sponsors and the Miss Universe organization have signed the deal on Wednesday, November 16 at Makati Shangri-La Hotel putting a stop to controversies surrounding the country’s bid to host the pageant.
This is the first and official announcement from the Miss Universe organizers, which include Luis Crisologo Singson (LCS) Group and the Department of Tourism (DOT) after a series of talks recently.
LCS Group head Luis ‘Chavit’ Singson told the media on Wednesday, “I am here to tell you tonight that the long wait is finally over. In behalf of the LCS Group and a grateful nation, tonight, we get to say ‘thank you’ to the Miss Universe Organization for once again allowing us the privilege of hosting the 65th Annual Miss Universe competition on January 30, 2017.”
“This journey was not an easy task. While there had been talks of bringing the Miss Universe back to the country, there were always other suitors around the world who have expressed their interest in hosting but we worked tirelessly to make sure that the Philippines would not lose the bid. We realize that there is no better time than now to host, especially since the reigning Miss Universe queen is, as you all know, our very own, Miss Pia Wurtzbach.
Wurtzbach who is currently in New York to fulfill her responsibilities as the reigning Miss Universe, will be crowning her successor next year.
It can be recalled that citizens and women leaders launched a petition in October urging the Miss Universe organizers not to hold the pageant in the Philippines, protesting the anti-women comments of President Rodrigo Duterte and other elected officials.
The petition states, “In recent months, chauvinism, brutal shaming, rape jokes and a sweeping disregard for women as persons deserving not merely of a token, but true, respect has been exhibited by the President of the Philippines with his salacious and sexist comments and treatment of female reporters and opposition figures, which has carried over to his allies in the Philippine Congress.”
The Department of Tourism (DOT) in a statement however said, “While the DOT gives due respect to such opinion as signified by a group of women leaders and concerned citizens, we assure everyone that we deem it a great honor to host the distinguished event that portrays the most beautiful and talented women with highest regard.”
The tourism department also pointed out that hosting the pageant would help boost the country’s tourism and benefit local businesses, among others.
With the pageant to cost organizers around $11 million, President Duterte said the Government won’t spend a single peso for it. After his pronouncement, the private sector gladly took charge.
Major sponsors include new entertainment operator Okada Manila, Solar Entertainment Corporation, and SM Lifestyle Entertainment. Other partners include San Miguel Corporation, JPark Island Resort and Waterworld in Cebu, and the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Baguio.
Singson said, “This is a rare opportunity and the perfect time to share the good news that our country has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia.”
“Not only will this event bring joy to Filipinos with its pageantry, but it is also expected to deliver incredible economic benefits through tourism, as we are given a platform to showcase our local attractions before half a billion Miss Universe fans worldwide.”
The Philippines last hosted the Miss Universe pageant in 1994. The country has three Miss Universe crowns to date: Gloria Diaz won in 1969, followed by Margie Moran in 1974.
This year’s Filipina representative, Maxine Medina hopes to win a back-to-back for the Philippines, and is aiming to win the fourth crown for the country.