The Department of Tourism (DOT) yesterday said talk about the cancellation of the 2016 Miss Universe pageant in the Philippines was just rumor.
But a Belgian trade mission to the Philippines next year planned to be led by Princess Astrid may be scrapped, after President Duterte stoked global outrage by drawing parallels between his brutal war on drugs and the Holocaust.
In a statement sent to Inquirer.net, Tourism Undersecretary Kat de Castro said the DOT was not aware of the cancellation, as meetings with the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) were still going on.
“We are not aware of any cancellation for Miss Universe. We are still having ongoing meetings with the MUO. Let us wait for official announcements before jumping into any conclusion,” De Castro said.
De Castro also took to social media to dismiss the rumor, which she said started with her Facebook post about reigning Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach crying.
“Some are citing my post last Thursday before the Hitler issue. Pia and I had. We were reminiscing. Hence, the ‘iyak’ part. Chill lang,” De Castro said.
“Before the Hitler” refers to the global outrage that President Duterte sparked last week by drawing parallels between his bloody war on drugs and the Holocaust.
Noting that Adolf Hitler killed millions of Jews, Mr. Duterte on Friday said he would be “happy” to kill 3 million drug addicts in the Philippines.
Mr. Duterte’s remarks, made in an arrival speech after a two-day official visit to Vietnam, drew condemnation from Germany, Israel, United Nations, United States, Jewish groups and international human rights organizations.
On Sunday, the President apologized to the Jewish community, saying he intended no disrespect to their memory of one of the darkest periods in their history.
But he refused to back down on his bloody campaign against illegal drugs, saying again that he would “kill the 3 million” addicts in the Philippines.
The DOT said a team from the MUO was in the country last week to inspect possible venues for pageant events, including the City of Vigan in Ilocos Sur province, and in Palawan and Cebu provinces.