When informed that Steve Harvey will be hosting the upcoming Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte raised his disapproval, according Department of Tourism Secretary (DOT) Wanda Teo.
The tourism secretary said the president has reacted negatively after being told that Harvey will host the event.
“He (Duterte) said ‘That cannot be.’ That was what he said. And he said ‘I’m going to talk to the Miss Universe (organizers) that he should not be (the emcee).’ So that’s my problem,” Teo pointed out in a press briefing in Malacañang on Thursday, September 1, as reported by Philstar.
When asked if the president was being serious about the statement, she replied, “I don’t know if he was serious. But when he told me, he was not laughing.”
During the previous Miss Universe pageant, Harvey wrongly announced Colombia’s candidate, Ariadna Gutierrez, as the winner last December 2015 and Philippines’ candidate Pia Wurtzbach as the 1st runner-up.
After apologizing for his mistake, Harvey infamously retracted the announcement minutes later and declared Miss Philippines, Pia Wurtzbach, as the real Miss Universe winner.
Since Harvey reportedly had a five-year contract with the Miss Universe, Teo said he would definitely host the pageant again but added she would inform the Miss Universe Organization about the president’s concern.
“I’ll suggest that we will have somebody from here, probably a media woman to host,” the tourism chief said.
According to Teo, the beauty contestants would start arriving in the country on January 13. To prevent traffic jam, pre-pageant events will be held in Davao, Cebu, Iloilo and Vigan City, while the coronation night would be held on January 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“I’m sure that after the Miss Universe, the Philippines will be in the world map. Everybody will be looking at us because during the Miss Universe contest, all the beautiful places, the destinations, will be featured,” she said.
Teo earlier announced that the government would not spend a single centavo on the event. The $11 million funds needed to finance the pageant will come from the private sector.
In coordination with a group led by former Ilocos Sur Governor and now Narvacan town Councilor Luis “Chavit” Singson, half of the amount as down payment has been so far raised as a requirement of the Miss Universe Organization, she added.