Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach with President Rodrigo Duterte. SCREENGRAB FROM INSTAGRAM
Pia Wurtzbach: Duterte ‘supportive’ of Miss Universe tilt in PH
INQUIRER.net / 04:47 PM October 13, 2016
Amid rumors that the Philippines’ hosting of the upcoming Miss Universe pageant would no longer push through, reigning queen Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach has expressed optimism that she would be able to do her final walk in her home country.
In a series of tweets, Wurtzbach said President Rodrigo Duterte was supportive of holding the prestigious beauty tilt in Manila.
This is amid an online petition asking the Miss Universe organization to reconsider holding the pageant here due to the “objectionable, scandalous, and demeaning sexist attitude demonstrated by the leaders of our country.”
“When I met our President, he was very much a gentleman. He’s supportive in the idea of having the competition in the Philippines,” Wurtzbach wrote.
Wurtzbach paid a courtesy call on Duterte last July at Malacañang Palace, where they first discussed the possibility of holding the pageant here.
Reports surfaced that William Morris Endeavor/IMG, the owner of the Miss Universe franchise, is backing out of its agreement with the Philippine government due to “political instability, security concerns and the Philippines not paying the hosting fee yet.”
The Department of Tourism and the presidential palace previously said the government will not spend a single centavo in the Miss Universe hosting, adding that the expenses will be shouldered by the private sector.
There were also rumors that the franchise holder’s Jewish chief, Ari Emanuel, was offended by Duterte’s controversial remarks that cited Adolf Hitler’s killing of Jews during the Holocaust.
Calling for calm among Filipinos, Wurtzbach said she would push for the pageant to be held in the country.
“I think having MU in the Philippines would be great to boost tourism. It will definitely showcase the beauty of the Philippines,” she said.
“Akong bahala guys. Kalma lang. Ipaglalaban ko yan. I want the competition in my home country!” Wurtzbach wrote in an earlier tweet.
The DOT previously denied rumors of a cancelled hosting, noting that talks were still ongoing with the Miss Universe organization. YG/JE