Pia Wurtzbach to meet Duterte about plans for Miss Universe in PH – report

MANILA, Philippines – Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach confirmed that she will be returning to the Philippines soon, and reports say that this is to discuss arrangements as the Philippines is being eyed as the host country for the next Miss Universe pageant.

According to a report from ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) on The World TonightDepartment of Tourism (DOT) secretary Wanda Corazon Teo said that Pia and President Rodrigo Duterte will meet on July 18 to talk about the possibility of having the pageant held in the country.

TV Patrol reported that the Miss Universe Organization is hoping to hold the pageant on January 30, 2017 in Manila, but the event can only push through by way of an executive order from President Duterte.

"Ang problem natin, it's too soon. May Sinulog, Chinese New Year. Medyo gipit. So siguro, we will ask them to move it to probably May, would be the best month," Teo explained. "But I will have to ask the approval of the President kasi executive order din yan."

'Fingers crossed'

Pia also made an announcement about visiting the Philippines during her Facebook Live video on Tuesday, July 12, saying: "Yes, I am going to the Philippines. Very soon, very, very soon." 

Earlier in the video, she also hinted that she's hoping that the next Miss Universe pageant will be held in Manila, though she didn't say it outright.

"You know what, I'm still waiting for the confirmation on really when it's gonna happen," she said, answering a question about where the pageant was going to be held.

"Right now, it's in the works. But hopefully – hopefully, fingers crossed – it's the one that I've been praying for. And I guess you know what that is, so let's just hope for the best."

As earlier reported by PTV, DOT Secretary Wanda Teo confirmed that she has met with Miss Universe president Paula Shugart and other executives of the organization, who have expressed interest in bringing the pageant to the Philippines.

In an interview last January with ABS-CBN, Shugart said that she felt it was time for the Philippines to host the pageant once more.

"For years, I've talked about someday having the pageant here. I do know that with Pia right now, the entire worldwide focus is on the Philippines. I think it's a great opportunity. I would love to be able to make it work. We'll see,” she said.

According to DOT Undersecretary Kat De Castro in a TV Patrol report, the Mall of Asia Arena and the Philippine Arena are being eyed as possible locations for the pageant, while the private sector will be the one to shoulder the estimated $10 to $12 million budget. – Rappler.com