Duterte wants Steve Harvey out of Miss Universe
Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - September 1, 2016 - 5:08pm

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED 5:08 p.m.) — Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo said Thursday President Rodrigo Duterte responded negatively when he was informed that Steve Harvey will be the host of Miss Universe pageant.

Teo said Duterte does not want Harvey to continue as host of the prestigious pageant the Philippines will host in January.

"Actually, he (Harvey) is under contract for five years, I believe. So definitely, he's again going to host the Miss Universe," Teo said in a press conference yesterday in Malacañang.

"When I told the president about that, he reacted negatively. He said ‘That cannot be.' That was what he said. And he said ‘I'm going to talk to the Miss Universe (organizers) that he should not be (the emcee). So that's my problem," she added.

Asked if Duterte was serious about his statement, Teo replied: "I don't know if he was serious. But when he told me, he was not laughing."

Harvey drew flak after he wrongly named Colombia's candidate Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner of Miss Universe 2015 last December. The Philippines' candidate Pia Wurtzbach won the crown while Gutierrez was the 1st runner-up.

Harvey has apologized for his mistake, whom he said, has caused him many sleepless nights.

She said he would suggest to pageant organizers the designation of a Filipina co-host to appease Duterte.

"I'll suggest that we will have somebody from here, probably a media woman to host," the tourism chief said.

Teo said the Philippine government would not spend a single centavo for the hosting of the international beauty tilt. The group of former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson would raise the $11 million needed to fund the event, she added.

"I'm sure that after the Miss Universe, the Philippines will be in the world map. Everybody will be looking at us because during the Miss Universe contest, all the beautiful places, the destinations, will be featured," Teo said.

Ancillary events would be held in areas outside Metro Manila to prevent traffic jam but the grand coronation night would be held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. The coronation night would be held on January 30 but the candidates would start arriving on January 13.

Asked what the government plans to do to street dwellers during the duration of the pageant, Teo said the social welfare department would be the one to take care of them.

"We will take care of them in a more humane way," she added.

"(Social welfare) Secretary Judy (Taguiwalo) will take care of them, I assure you that. That's all."

Taguiwalo said there are no plans yet on how to handle street dwellers during the duration of the pageant.

“But the president’s instruction is not to hide them,” she said in a text message.

The tourism department is also coordinating with the military to ensure the safety of candidates.

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