New DOT Sec. Bernadette Romulo-Puyat on hosting Miss Universe: 'Tignan muna natin'

MANILA, Philippines – Incoming Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said nothing was final if the Philippines would host the 2018 edition of the Miss Universe pageant.

This comes after outgoing secretary Wanda Tulfo-Teo said, prior to her resignation, that there was a "90% chance" the pageant will return to the country.

In an interview on Umagang Kay Ganda on Wednesday, May 9, Puyat, who is undersecretary for agriculture, said that she has not yet met with the people from the Department of Tourism regarding the matter.

"I want to see first the plans of the Department of Tourism. Ayoko pang magsabi kung tutuluyin ba o hindi (I don't want to say if it will push through or not). I want to see kasi baka naman may kontrata na sila (because they might have a contract already). Hindi ko alam. Titingnan muna natin (I don't know yet. Let's see first),"

Puyat however said that projects that the DOT have with the agricutlure sector will be continued. Aside from being an undersecretary for agriculture, Puyat is a known advocate for farm and culinary tourism.

In the same interview, Puyat said that she was happy that the country's cuisine was also gaining international attention. 

"We should be proud ngayon that everywhere in the world, napapansin ang Filipino cuisine. Hindi lang yung mga beaches natin, pati pagkain natin." (We should be proud that everywhere in the world, Filipino cuisine is gaining attention. It's not just the beaches,but also our food.)

Puyat replaced Tulfo-Teo who resigned  after the public outcry caused by a Commission on Audit (COA) report that pointed to the  lack of documents on the P60 million worth of placement ads from the DOT to the PTV program Kilos Pronto. There was a clamor for her resignation because the program was produced and hosted by her brothers (READ: Teo has 'no idea' her brothers Ben and Erwin Tulfo host 'Kilos Pronto')

On Monday, May 7, Miss Universe president Paula Shugart said that the organization was open to bringing back the pageant to the Philippines again after the successful hosting of the 2016 edition which was held in January 2017.

"We're evaluating the opportunities and possibilities of Miss Universe this year. So all I can say on that is stay tuned," she said.

Shugart was recently in town along with Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters and Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere for the Grit and Glam fashion show held at the Cove on Tuesday night, May 8. – with a report from Alexa Villano/Rappler.com