Preparations have begun for the staging of the Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines in January 2017 but there seems to be one problem the Department of Tourism (DOT) is yet to resolve.
Speaking to reporters in Malacañang on Thursday, Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said President Rodrigo Duterte is not in favor of Steve Harvey hosting the international beauty competition.
“Actually, he’s [Harvey] under contract for five years, I believe. Definitely he’s again going to host the Miss Universe. When I told the President about that, [he gave a negative response. He said, ‘That can’t be!’],” Teo said in a news conference.
She added that the President himself might raise the issue with the Miss Universe Organization (MUO).
“And he said, ‘I’m going to talk to the Miss Universe Organization [that I don’t want Steve Harvey to be the host].’ So, that’s my problem,” according to Teo.
When asked if she would tell the MUO about the President’s concerns, the DOT secretary said, “Yes of course, I will tell them.”
Teo added that she will suggest to the Miss Universe Organization for Harvey to have a Filipino co-host.
“Maybe that’s what I’m going to do…, maybe I will choose a girl from the Philippines who will co-host,” she said.
Harvey, when he hosted Miss Universe 2015, mistakenly named Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the new Miss Universe in December last year, when the title was supposed to go to Binibining Pilipinas Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach.
He has since asked for forgiveness from both beauty queens.
According to reports, Harvey has a multi-year contract with the Miss Universe Organization, which he signed just days before the 2015 pageant aired.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE