Is It a Wise Decision to Have the Miss Universe Pageant again in Manila?

I have heard from some reliable sources that the Miss Universe pageant hosting in Manila is not going to push thru. Either it did not get the thumbs up from the President or it did not get enough financial backers & sponsors to fill in the budget. While this is still yet to be confirmed, we ask the question: Is it a wise decision for the government/ Department of Tourism to host the pageant again in Manila?

This is a question that clearly has pros and cons and to come up with one definitive answer might not be easy. I have reason to believe that Filipinos are split in their opinion regarding this matter.
The Miss Universe Organization is clearly happy with the pageant being held in manila last January 2017. So happy that they offered the country to host it twice in a row. So what do we need to consider if we are to host the pageant once again? What gains are we looking at? And more importantly what are our risks in hosting the pageant once again?
1. Draw on Tourism – initially Tourism Undersecretary Kat de Castro said “not yet, maybe in 2020” but now the entire DOT is singing an entirely different tune. Criticisms abound that the only thing that the DOT has made under the leadership of Secretary Wanda Teo is the hosting of the MU pageant (a clear disregard to other tourism activities done). The country has much to offer, but the country is also wanting in more infrastructures for the tourism industry to truly explode at a global competitive scale.
But hosting the pageant in the country can possibly correct the mistakes that was done in the 65th edition where the country only received 40-60 second videos of what the Filipino culture is about. No Filipino touches on the stage or production, which has left Filipino pageant fans wanting. Perhaps those can be corrected this time around and actually see something similar to what Moscow and Bangkok has delivered. And if we were to base the tourist turnout during the first quarter, a 10.9% increase in tourist arrivals* (on the first 2 months of 2017 versus the same period in 2016) is nothing to sneeze at. Of course, we cannot attribute it all to the MU hosting but the double-digit growth is nothing to frown upon. That 10% increase was significant compared to the global average of 4%. In fact it can be leveraged as a success factor for tourism.

2. Security and Safety – with the country hosting the ASEAN Summit on the same month that the MUOrg wants the pageant to be staged, security forces and resources have to be divided…and perhaps a bigger chunk going to the ASEAN Summit. The Miss Universe could not be allowed to play second fiddle when it comes to these concerns as an estimated 90 reps from different countries are there to bear witness should something go wrong. Is the MU taking place in Manila something that could put the country’s image at a global platform? Yes definitely! But so is disturbance in the proceedings if it gets marred by security and safety issues. Could you just imagine the embarrassment we will face if this happens? As of now, we still have the Martial Law in place in Mindanao and the case of the Resorts World recent attack is still fresh. We cannot be hasty in our decision to host the MU pageant again when internal threats have to be neutralized first.
It is clear that the focus would be on the ASEAN Summit as it brings more long term gains to the country’s economy with more concrete deals and investments. This could guarantee continued growth to fuel more infrastructure developments. Filipino pageant fanaticism has to do some counter checks and balance on this issue. We all should look at the bigger and more long term picture. Let the ASEAN Summit go on without any glitch and show world leaders that we have our priorities straight.

On a personal note, I would have loved to see the pageant held back in Las Vegas for this year. This would give less stress and pressure on our bet, Rachel Peters. And it would give us enough time to convince more companies to sponsor the pageant through a longer planning time. Besides, we can host the pageant in Manila after a year or two…Clearly a win-win situation for all.
I have no problems if the pageant is to be held again in Manila but I have reservations on how the pageant will be run, how the Philippines will be featured on the MU stage, how the peace and order be secured prior to the pageant and most importantly how will private entities and companies fund the pageant’s estimated USD 15-18 million budget.



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