By Jill Beltran
MANILA (PNA) – Traffic gridlock in Metro Manila and public safety are among the major concerns of the Department of Tourism (DOT) in hosting the Miss Universe pageant in the country next year.
These were the key issues discussed during the first meeting of the Philippine Host Committee (PHC) recently, which comprises several agencies, in preparation for the highly-anticipated beauty pageant.
“The maddening traffic mess is obviously the one single problem that beset our daily economic activities in Metro Manila, and we will find ways so as not to aggravate this with the hosting of Miss Universe,” said Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo in a press release.
“Or better yet, the hosting committee might as well come up with a solution to the traffic gridlock,” she added.
Considering the possible inconvenience the holding of pre-pageant would cause to Metro Manila residents, the committee is looking at the provinces of Cebu, Davao, Palawan, Batangas, Iloilo, Isabela and Vigan in Ilocos Sur for these events.
The coronation night, however, will still be held in Manila at the Mall of Asia Arena on Jan. 30, 2017.
The PHC, led by the DOT, presented to President Rodrigo Duterte a draft administrative order that would organize at least 12 agencies “to map out the master plan for holding the event”.
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; Bureau of Immigration of the Department of Justice; Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Internal Revenue of the Department of Finance; Philippine National Police; and the Manila International Airport Authority.
Officials representing the various member agencies of the PHC have pledged full support to the DOT in hosting the prestigious event, which is also seen to help boost the tourism industry.
Other issues discussed during the meeting include 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.
Pres. Duterte has agreed to host the pageant in the country given the assurance the government would not spend a single centavo for the event.
Teo had assured the public that private sponsors would shoulder the expenses for the pageant.
She earlier said that hosting the pageant would cost about USD11 million or roughly more than PHP500 million.