MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) addressed news of an ongoing petition from citizens and women leaders asking Miss Universe organizers not to hold the pageant in the Philippines.
“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,” said a statement from the DOT.
It also points out that hosting the pageant in the country would help boost the Philippines’ tourism promotions program, benefiting local businesses, among others.
See the DOT’s statement in full before:
“The government’s decision to accept the offer of Miss Universe Organization to stage the spectacular pageant in the Philippines has gained an overwhelming public support, especially among Filipino women and their families.
“Needless to say, this is such a special and proud occasion where we are presented with the golden opportunity to host the event in which the reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of Cagayan de Oro City would pass on the Crown to her successor.
“In addition, the massive attendance of international media for two-week extravaganza would be a big boost to the country’s tourism promotion program that will benefit local businesses and livelihood, as well as the travel and tour sector.
“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.
“In this light, the DOT expresses its utmost gratitude to the Miss Universe Organization of giving us the great opportunity to treat the world to genuine Filipino hospitality.”
Meanwhile, reigning Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach, who has previously expressed her own wishes to have the pageant in the country, said this on Twitter:
Akong bahala guys. Kalma lang. Ipaglalaban ko yan. I want the competition in my home country!— Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (@PiaWurtzbach) October 10, 2016
A petition made public Monday, October 10 urged Miss Universe organizers not to hold the pageant in the country, protesting the recent actions of President Rodrigo Duterte and other elected officials, including their comments about women.
“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,” said the letter. Read the piece in full here.
Comments about women have been the focus of conversation in recent news events in the Philippines after embattled Senator Leila de Lima drew the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte for leading a Senate inquiry into the rising number of extrajudicial killings related to the new administration’s war on drugs.
The President himself had accused De Lima of involvement in the drug trade, and alleged that she had a sex tape to prove her romantic ties with her alleged bagman, her former driver and bodyguard, Ronnie Dayan.
Members of the House of Representatives had earlier threatened to show the alleged sex tape in a congressional inquiry, but later backed down in the face of criticism even from fellow lawmakers from both houses of Congress.
So far, Miss Universe owner WME|IMG has not made any official announcements of their own about where the 2017 pageant will be held. But Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo confirmed back in July that the pageant would be held in the Philippines. – Rappler.com