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Updates: Miss Universe pageant in PH

MANILA, Philippines – Officials of the Department of Tourism assured that the Miss Universe pageant will still be held in Manila on January 30, 2017.

In a press conference on Tuesday, October 4, DOT secretary Wanda Teo and undersecretary Kat de Castro gave updates regarding some of the plans for the event. (READ: Confirmed: Miss Universe pageant to be held in PH – DOT)

"Definitely, I'd like to assure you that Miss Universe is going to be held on January 30," Teo said.

De Castro meanwhile said that they are planning the itinerary for the candidates during the pageant.

"We’re trying to tour them everywhere as much as we can. The center of it all will definitely be Metro Manila because that’s where the final show will be," she said.

According to de Castro, a formal announcement from WME|IMG, the owners of Miss Universe together with Teo and DOT, will be made very soon.

Some of the places that the candidates will visit include Cebu, Davao, Siargao, Vigan, Palawan and Legazpi, Bicol. Visits to other landmarks like Intramuros are being planned, possibly to shoot segments for the pageant.

De Castro however said that not all ladies will be visiting all the places. 

DOT secretary Wanda Teo and undersecretary Kat de Castro during the DOT press briefing.

Photo by Alexa Villano/Rappler

Regarding security for the candidates, De Castro said that they already met with the Department of Interior and Local Government, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine National Police, given the possibility of security threats

"Even before the ocular inspection, we have been already having talks with the DILG, PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines, so they’ve come up with a security plan not just for Metro Manila, but all of the provinces that contestants will be going to," De Castro said.

Regarding the participation of former Ilocos Sur governor Chavit Singson in bringing the pageant to the country, Teo, said that even before she went on board as secretary, he was already working on bringing the pageant to the Philippines.

"When I took over as secretary of Tourism, Chavit Singson was already on board. He already talked to me that the Miss Universe was coming. Actually he was already talking with the Miss Universe [Organization] and the Miss Universe group would want DOT to be involved," Teo said.

As for host Steve Harvey, who made the mistake of announcing Colombia's Ariadna Gutierrez as winner in last year's pageant, de Castro said that they will make sure Harvey will get a chance to talk with President Rodrigo Duterte, who said that he does not want Harvey to host the pageant after the mix-up. (READ: Mix-up seen 'round the universe: Host Steve Harvey announces wrong winner)

De Castro also said that the Philippine Arena was taken into consideration as the place to hold the pageant, but they were told by the president to hold all the acitivities in one place. The finals will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The candidates are expected to start arriving on January 13 for the pageant. – Rappler.com