MAKATI CITY, PHILIPPINES—The Miss Universe Philippines (MUP) was supposed to stage its maiden coronation ceremonies on May 4, but moved it to June 14 when the government imposed quarantine measures in different parts of the country in March.
But with Metro Manila’s “enhanced community quarantine” already extended twice, and a modified lockdown looming after May 15, the MUP organization decided to push the coronation of its winner much later.
“The pageant will be held in October 2020,” the organization said in a post on its official Facebook page on May 5.
Answering a question sent by PopbizPH’s Gari Datugan, MUP Creative Director Jonas Antonio Gaffud said, “pageant enthusiasts can expect a more dynamic role of young women leaders around the Philippines. We also promise the final show in October will be one of a kind.”
The MJP presented 52 delegates in February, 51 of them had remained and the organization said there have been no withdrawals from any of the current contenders.
One of them will be crowned 2020 Miss Universe Philippines and will represent the country in the 2020 Miss Universe pageant, which has yet to announce its date and venue.
This is the first stand-alone pageant for the Philippines’ official delegate to the Miss Universe pageant. The Binibining Pilipinas pageant has been sending the country’s bet to the global tilt since 1964.
Reigning Miss Universe Philippines Gazini Ganados was crowned in the 2019 Binibining Pilipinas pageant in June last year. She finished in the Top 20 in the international competition staged in the United States in December last year.
But with the Miss Universe Organization based in New York, now considered the global epicenter of Covid-19 infections, there have been fears that the pandemic will affect the global contest this year.
To a question posed by pageant blogger Norman Tinio, MUP National Director Shamcey Supsup-Lee said, “we are confident in MUO’s operational resilience and in its ability to remain relevant both domestically and internationally.”
She added: “We are in touch with them and are regularly updated when there are changes in their strategic direction.”
Supsup-Lee, the third runner-up in the 2011 Miss Universe pageant, also clarified that while the national organization is aligned with the MUO, it is “developing its own thoughtful response to the pandemic—always having the contenders and causes as the topmost priorities.”
In a video posted on the MUP Facebook page, Supsup-Lee emphasized that the Miss Universe Philippines queen should be “a role model, a rallying point, and a harbinger of hope.”
She continued: “A Miss Universe Philippines always comes with the glory of being able to represent the best of the Philippines in the universe stage. But we believe that service and leadership to the nation should come first before that glory.”
Gaffud said the organization had initially intended to release a “limited series” premiering on April 13. However, all shoots and events were ordered canceled on March 3 “so the girls would have time to go home and be with their families.”
He added: “We already made that call early because personally I sensed a crisis was about to unfold.
The pageant’s creative director also revealed that the limited series will now serve as a fund-raising activity “via pay-per-view access.”
Gaffud said, “a significant portion of the proceeds will go to a lot of people and their families displaced by COVID-19.”
“Our aim is to communicate a message of hope, a promise of recovery, and to lead rebuilding efforts,” he continued.
With the St. Luke’s Medical Center on hand as the pageant’s health care provider, MUP Business Development and Marketing head Mario Garcia said it is making sure that the contenders and the staff working on the competition’s activities remain healthy. It also has an insurance provider for the delegates.
Shoots and other activities will be limited to only five staff members to be able to comply with the social distancing guidelines imposed under the quarantine. Supsup-Lee also assured the public that “there will be adjustments in the way the pageant program will be delivered and that MUP will be tweaking it to remain sensitive to the ‘new normal.’”
In a statement released on its official website on May 5, MUP said delegates will be separated in groups for the preliminary competitions, and “there will be no stage groupings.” Delegates will be wearing face masks, which they will remove only when they go onstage. They will be sent home after they have left the stage. “No live audience is allowed” for the final competition, the organization added.
Supsup-Lee said, “rather than just focusing on what we can’t or shouldn’t do amidst the crisis, MUP is devoting time and resources to understand its role in responding to this public health crisis.”