DOT plans to host another Miss Universe pageant after Boracay rehabilitation

The Philippine Department of Tourism (DOT) is considering the idea of hosting the Miss Universe pageant in 2019 after the rehabilitation of Boracay island.

According to Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, it was President Rodrigo Duterte himself who suggested the hosting of another Miss Universe pageant in the country to help in reintroducing Boracay to the world.

While clarifying that the president made the suggestion in jest, Teo said the idea is possible.

“I know it’s pabiro, sabi niya ‘eh baka pwede natin gawin ang Miss Universe sa Boracay.’ So I was thinking baka pwede (I know it’s in jest, he said ‘maybe we can do the Miss Universe in Boracay.’ So I was thinking it may be possible),” Teo said in a government podcast.

The Philippines has hosted the pageant three times. The most recent was during the 65th Miss Universe in January 2017.

Teo also added that the DOT would be “very proud and happy” to promote  Boracay once the rehabilitation of the island is completed.

Boracay is set to be closed from tourists for six months, starting April 26, as part of the government’s efforts to address environmental issues hounding the island, particularly its sewage and garbage problems.

During the rehabilitation period, the government also hopes to resolve the issues on the encroachment on easements, forestland, and wetlands; and the degradation of certain areas like Puka Beach and caves.

‘No casinos’

In a press briefing on Monday, April 9, Duterte said no casinos will be build in the island while it was still closed for rehabilitation.

“I did not say I will allow casino there somewhere. Far from it actually. I never said anything about building anything or even a nipa hut there,” the president said.

He continued: “Walang plano diyang casino-casino. Tama na iyan kasi sobra na. May casino dito, casino doon (There is no plan to build a casino there. Stop already because it’s too much. There’s a casino here, a casino there).”

It was earlier reported that Macau casino giant Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd. and its Filipino partner, Leisure and Resorts World Corp. is planning construction in Boracay after  securing a provisional license from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, a staunch critic of the administration, earlier claimed that the closure order was meant to facilitate the construction of a casino in the island.

Maintaining his stance, the senator recently bared his plan to seek a Senate investigation into Duterte’s order to close Boracay.

“I maintain my position that the reason why Boracay was ordered closed is for the planned construction where they need the ports to bring in construction materials and heavy equipment,” Trillanes said in a briefing on Tuesday, April 10.

“They can’t do this with tourists around, so for me, to shed light on this issue, I’ll be filing a resolution calling for a Senate investigation,” he added.

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