• Miss U pageant won’t clog traffic – DOT chief

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    Solving Metro Manila’s traffic gridlock and ensuring public safety surfaced as the main concerns tackled at the first meeting of the multi-agency Philippine Host Committee (PHC) to plan and prepare for the staging of the Miss Universe pageant in the country next year.

    “The maddening traffic mess is obviously the one single problem that besets our daily economic activities in Metro Manila, and we will find ways so as not to aggravate this with the hosting of the Miss Universe pageant,” Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said in a statement on Monday.

    “Or better yet, the hosting committee might as well come up with a solution to the traffic gridlock,” Teo added.

    To avoid causing inconvenience to the public, pageant events will be held outside Metro Manila at tourist destinations such as Palawan, Cebu, Batangas and Isabela provinces.

    World-class attractions in Davao City, Vigan (Ilocos Sur) and Cagayan de Oro (Misamis Oriental), where reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach hails from, are also slated as possible venues of the pageant’s pre-coronation segments.

    The Department of Tourism (DOT)-led panel endorsed to President

    Rodrigo Duterte a draft Administrative Order that will formally constitute the Miss Universe PHC with at least 12 agencies to map out the master plan for holding the event.

    The hosting panel tackled other issues raised during the PHC meeting, including facilitating the arrival and admission of Miss Universe participants from over 90 countries and organizers, security at the various pageant venues and coordination with partners in the private sector.

    The President approved the proposal after Teo, along with Wurtzbach assured that no public funds will be used in hosting the pageant.

    Teo had assured the public that private sponsors will shoulder the production costs of the Miss Universe pageant that will hold its coronation on January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    PHC members include the Office of the Executive Secretary; the Departments of Public Works and Highways, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Industry, Information and Communications Technology, Interior and Local Government, Transportation, Health, Justice (Bureau of Immigration) and Finance (Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue). Philippine National Police; and Manila International Airport Authority.

    Officials representing the various member agencies of the PHC manifested their full support for the DOT initiative of hosting the event in what is believed to be a “marketing coup” to help boost the tourism industry.

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