Is Pia coming or not? Confusion leads to blame game in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – City officials and Cagayan de Oro Second District Representative Rufus Rodriguez are pointing fingers over the confusion arising from the supposed January homecoming of 2015 Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach to this city.

Wurtzbach's "homecoming" was supposed to be on January 29, but city officials said there is no such schedule.

Aileen San Juan, member of the board of the city tourism council, said that Bb Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BBPCI) has not set such a date – contrary to the announcement of Rodriguez on Facebook.

In an e-mail, Rodriguez thanked Stella Araneta, chair of BBPCI, for “heeding” his request for Pia's homecoming to Cagayan de Oro. The new Miss Universe spent her childhood in this city and had personally chosen to represent the city in her pageants.

April homecoming

The blame game started when it became clear that Cagayan de Oro is not part of Wurtzbach's itinerary during her January visit. She arrived on Saturday, January 23, for her grand homecoming after bagging the crown of the prestigius beauty pageant.

Gean Cesar, another member of the city tourism council, said that the council appointed her to head Wurtzbach's possible homecoming.

Cesar said that the council agreed that April 2016 would be a good time to host the Cagayan de Oro homecoming, considering that Bb Pilipinas had  announced that she is returning to the Philippines in April for the coronation night of Bb Pilipinas 2016.

“I was authorized then to send communication to Bb Pilipinas,” Cesar said, referring to the proposed April homecoming of Wurtzbach.

Over the weekend, Rodriguez blamed the city tourism council for reportedly sending a letter seeking the postponement of the January homecoming – a claim denied by the city council.

Cesar said that through a series of informal communication, Gines Enriquez, one of the people working for Araneta, suggested April as the Cagayan de Oro homecoming date, since Wurtzbach was already tied with her Manila homecoming commitments.

“There was no mention on January 29, as opposed to the announcement of Rodriguez’s Facebook page that there is a January 29 Homecoming,” Cesar said.

Realistic planning

However, the city tourism council also met with Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Oscar Moreno to brief him on the update of the development.

“He (Moreno) instructed us to do whatever we can but making sure that we are in close coordination with Bb Pilipinas and be realistic with our activities related to the homecoming  as January 29 was barely two week away,” Cesar said.

“We prepared for January 29 even if we know that there is no scheduled visit,” Cesar said.

Cesar said that they knew for a fact that there is no January 29 schedule because she sent an e-mail to Bb Pilipinas for clarification if indeed Wurtzbach was coming to Cagayan de Oro.

Cesar said Enriquez texted her on January 18 to say that there was no approved Cagayan de Oro homecoming for Wurtzbach on January 29.

Because it was not an official announcement from  the BBPCI chair, Rodriguez did not announce that Wurtzbach was no longer coming.

Rodriguez had said that Wurtzbach's Cagayan de Oro homecoming would be covered by 300 media people. He said the event would be a good time to showcase Kagayanon hospitality and show the world that the city is peaceful, friendly, clean, and highly-developed.

Rodriguez had also cited remarkable tourism destinations and activities such as white water rafting, the Mapawa Eco Park, Malasag eco-village, Gaston park. –