MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said they are open to the idea of hosting the Miss Universe pageant in 2019 once the rehabilitation of Boracay Island is complete.
The shut-down for rehabilitation begins on April 26.
In an interview on communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson's podcast on Monday, April 9, Teo said that during a Cabinet meeting, Finance Secretary Carlo Dominguez raised concerns that the country may have a hard time promoting the island after its closure.
"Tinanong kasi ako ni [Sec Carlo] Dominguez na pagsinara ang Boracay, mahirapan kayo uli i-promote. So sumagot si Presidente na 'ah ganito na lang, pagsinara natin ang Boracay, ang Miss Universe dadalhin natin iyan'. Then nag dawn yung idea sa akin na I could probably do it next year... kasi si president nagsabi n'yan," she said.
(I was asked by [Sec Carlo] Dominguez that if Boracay will be closed, we might have a hard time in promoting it. The president then said 'this is what we do, if we close Boracay, let's bring Miss Universe here.' Then it dawned upon me that I could probably do it next year...because it was the president who said it.)
The tourism chief clarified that Duterte's remarks were likely made in jest.
"I know it's pabiro, sabi niya 'eh baka pwede natin gawin ang Miss Universe sa Boracay.' So I was thinking baka pwede," she added.
(I know it's in jest, he said 'maybe we can do the Miss Universe in Boracay.' So I was thinking it may be possible.)
In a statement, the Department of Tourism said that while the suggestion was made during one of the light moments with the President, Teo is not discounting the possibility of hosting the pageant again.
"It can be recalled that after the 2016 edition, the organizers came to us asking if we can still host the 2017 edition, but we had to turn it down." (READ: PH will not host 66th Miss Universe pageant)
The country has hosted the pageant 3 times, the last during the 65th Miss Universe in January 2017. –Rappler.com