JUST like last May elections, the Philippines’ hosting of the 2017 Miss Universe pageant has become the current hottest issue on social media showing intense political division between proponents and antagonists of the event.

Some kind of voting has even began in Facebook with the Duterte administration supporters dominating the discussions with acerbic language that they have so mastered in recent months and as if adopting their principal’s manner of speaking.

The debate on whether to host or not began when a Facebook post by a certain Annie Serrano, signed by 58 individuals including business people, nongovernment organization representatives and former government officials, scored President Duterte "and his cohorts" for the "objectionable, scandalous, and demeaning sexist attitude" they demonstrate "towards womankind."

Among them were allies and supporters of former President Nonoy Aquino like former Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman, former chair of the Commission on Human Rights Etta Rosales, former Presidential Peace Adviser "Ging" Deles, singer Leah Navarro, former Ayala Foundation president Vicky Garchitorena, and US-based businesswoman Loida Nicolas Lewis.

"In recent months, chauvinism, brutal shaming, rape jokes and a sweeping disregard for women as persons deserving not merely of a token, but true respect, has been exhibited by the President of the Philippines with his salacious and sexist comments and treatment of female reporters and opposition figures, which has carried over to his allies in the Philippine Congress," the petition read.

It added: "To hold the Miss Universe Pageant in the Philippines at this time would serve as a reward of this intolerable behavior and excuse such behavior. It would reinforce a troubling trend in our society. It would make your organization a partner to these backward and dangerous steps, which are serious violations of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women."

Earlier, it was reported that William Morris Endeavor/IMG, who owns the Miss Universe franchise, had cancelled its plan to hold the pageant here over political instability, security concerns, and the country not paying the hosting fee yet.

WME/IMG reportedly cited political instability, security concerns and the Philippines not paying the hosting fee yet as the reasons for the cancellation.

WME/IMG CEO Ari Emanuel, who is Jewish, was also reportedly offended by Duterte’s controversial remarks referencing Hitler.

WME/IMG also reportedly cancelled its upcoming UFC event in Manila this month.

The DOT, however, said the event will push through as the government’s decision to accept the offer of Miss Universe Organization to stage the spectacular pageant in the Philippines has gained an overwhelming public support, especially among Filipino women and their families.” It added that the pageant is "a special and proud occasion" given that the reigning Miss Universe, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach, is a Filipino.

The DoT appealed to the women advocates to reconsider their decision against the pageant being held in the country on January 30, 2017.

"In addition, the massive attendance of international media for two-week extravaganza would be a big boost to the country’s tourism promotion program that will benefit local businesses and livelihood, as well as the travel and tour sector,” the DoT said.

It also points out that hosting the pageant in the country would help boost the Philippines' tourism promotions program, benefiting local businesses, among others.

Reigning Miss U Pia Wurtzbach twitted “Akong bahala guys. Kalma lang. Ipaglalaban ko yan. I want the competition in my home country.” This received 5.4 million likes and was retweeted 1.25 million times.



Nate Barreto of the Manila Bulletin said in his post: “As a Filipino citizen, a father, a lover and a son, I feel offended by that premise. That's a lame excuse to politicize the event to hit the current government at the expense of the country and our image as a people. So untrue, so unfair and so unpatriotic, Ms Leah Navarro, CHR former Chair Etta Rosales, DSWD ex-Sec. Dinky Soliman.”

In reaction to his post, Cel Fuentes said the media is obviously unaware of what is really going on. The event will push through. They are just wanting in attention. He then cited that this pageant would not cost a single centavo to the government.

Marco Galoy said the Philippines will profit millions of dollars from Miss U organization. If you hate the US then why take their dollar. Double standard? Why not go to China and benefit from their yuan.

DailDeri Nye said Duterte didn’t want it held here in the first place as he did not want to spend for it. So the organizers got investors. I think compared to other countries, may pagka matriarchal society din tayo. We have female priests in the indigenous groups, we had two female president, etc. “Long way from the ideal gender sensitive society but we are getting there. So yeah, what a way to politicize the event.”



Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said her department is looking at Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Boracay, Cebu, Palawan, Vigan and the Mall of Asia in Pasay City as possible venues for the pageant.

It will be the third time the Philippines would be hosting the event.

The Philippines hosted Miss Universe pageants in 1974 at the Folk Arts Theater and in 1994 at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City.

The Philippines has three Miss Universe titleholders to date: Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973) and current title holder Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.

The Philippines last hosted the Miss Universe tilt in 1994, which crowned Sushmita Sen of India as winner. The country first hosted the pageant in 1974, when Margie Moran relinquished her title to Amparo Muñoz of Spain.

The last Miss Universe was held in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Wurtzbach won the crown, ending a 42-year drought for the Philippines.

Binibining Pilipinas Universe Maxine Medina will represent the Philippines in the pageant. 

 “There was this news article that came out that the Miss Universe will not push through, so I called Executive Secretary BingBong (Salvador) Medialdea and told him, ‘Is it okay for me to announce that the Miss Universe will be here in the Philippines?’ And he said yes,” Teo said.

Last July 18, Miss Universe president Paula Shugart, Miss Universe vice president Shawn McLain and Wurtzbach paid a courtesy call on Duterte to discuss the possibility of holding the pageant in the Philippines.

In her social media accounts, Wurtzbach, who hails from Cagayan de Oro City, proudly noted her connection to the President, both of them being “Mindanaoans.”

Wurtzbach also wished to crown her successor here. By the time that happens, her reign will be one year, one month and 11 days. 

The Philippines’ bet is Maria Mika Maxine Medina, The Philippine Star’s Face of Allure on Sept. 7, 2014.

A memorandum of agreement will also be signed between the DOT and sponsors from the private sector.

She added President Duterte would be meeting with the National Security Council to assure the safety and security of locals and tourists during the pageant.

Although President Duterte does not want Steve Harvey (who mistakenly crowned Miss Colombia as the Miss Universe only to retract seconds later) in hosting the Miss U pageant, chances of his not doing so are nil as he has a five year contract with the Miss Universe Organization.


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