WATCH: Pia Wurtzbach meets with Duterte on Miss Universe plans
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach met with President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, July 18, to discuss the plans to host the next Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines (LOOK: Pia Wurtzbach back in PH to meet Duterte on Miss Universe)
Pia was accompanied by her manager Esther Swan, Miss Universe President Paula Shugart, Shawn McClain, vice president for Marketing and Business Development, Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Wanda Teo and undersecretary Kat de Castro.
According to a Malacañang press release, the two also "talked about the similarities between them, with both of them hailing from Mindanao and winning their respective titles as the first Mindanaoan President and first Mindanaoan Ms. Universe."
Pia took a selfie with President Duterte:
She even posed with Shawn McClain, the Miss Universe Organization's Vice President for Marketing and Business Development, looking all somber like in House of Cards.
Prior to her meeting with Duterte, Pia met with Department of Tourism secretary Wanda Teo.
In a press statement, Teo said about Pia's visit: "I'm so proud and grateful of the full support she is giving us in our efforts to host the upcoming Miss Universe contest in the country.
"Indeed, she has taken up the cudgels and leadership to make this happen. If this translates into reality, our tourism industry stands to gain tremendously.
The statement continued: "We are really hopeful that the President will grant our request, especially now that the private sector have come together to shoulder the production costs of Miss Universe.
"I'd like to emphasize that this undertaking would practically entail no expense on the part of the government."
In the same statement, the reigning Miss Universe said," I’m very happy that I’m back home after a while. The last time I was here was during the coronation night of the Binibining Pilipinas pageant. And now I'm back here to work actually."
She continued later: "I don’t think it’s a secret; it’s a public knowledge that it is my personal dream, and I think the dream of a lot of Filipinos, the majority of Filipinos, that someday we’ll see the Miss Universe pageant to be held here. And we are keeping our fingers crossed."
On Friday, July 15, Teo confirmed in a press statement that the President has "approved in principle" her department's proposal for the Philippines to host the next Miss Universe pageant. (READ: Duterte 'approves in principle' plans to host Miss Universe in PH – DOT)
DOT Undersecretary Kat de Castro earlier confirmed this month that Teo met with the executives of the Miss Universe Organization – led by its president Paula Shugart – about the possibility of the Philippines hosting the pageant. – Rappler.com