Friday, September 17, 2021

'Strict, elaborate' security measures for Miss U 2017 assured

IN PREPARATION for the upcoming Miss Universe 2017 pageant in the Philippines, the Duterte administration guaranteed on Friday (December 9) that “strict and elaborate” security measures are underway to ensure that the most-awaited event will come out successful.

In a press conference, Local Government Undersecretary Emily Padilla said the Philippine National Police (PNP) will prevent any untoward incident to happen “before, during, or close to and after” the Miss Universe, considering the pageant’s global attraction.

“Strict and elaborate security measures will be in place to prevent the alleged lawless elements from doing something [during the Miss Universe pageant],” Padilla said.

“Police, in partnership with other government agencies, are prepared as far as security matters are concerned… We cannot afford any lapses in security. Our enforcement agencies will make sure that there will be a safe and successful holding of the Miss Universe,” she added.

Padilla said the PNP’s committee on security, peace and order, and emergency preparedness and response conducted a command conference on Thursday (December 8) as an early preparation for the Miss Universe pageant.

Tourism Assistant Secretary Ricky Alegre admitted that the government is having difficulty on how to control the crowd who will surely get excited when the pageant materializes.

Alegre said the government is now thinking to come up with some rules to control the “selfies and the group selfies” of the candidates’ supporters.

“Can you imagine everybody wanting to have a selfie with a Miss Universe candidate? Having a picture? So I believe that’s where the challenge is, you cannot stop the excitement when we don’t intend to stop the excitement,” Alegre said.

“We need to be able to have some rules before they can approach the candidates... We just have to find ways to control the selfies and the group shots and the group selfies because that’s gonna be all over the place,” he added.

Padilla assured that the government would mobilize its law enforcement forces not only in Metro Manila but also in all provinces that the contestants of the beauty pageant are going to visit.

Earlier in the day, Miss USA Deshauna Barber and Miss New Zealan Tania Pauline Dawnson arrived in Manila.

A half-Filipina, Dawnson was elated by the warm welcome she received from the Filipino people.

“It’s amazing to hop off the plane and have so many people at the airport ready to see us and their love was really what made this trip amazing,” she told Palace reporters. “I’m really looking forward to all the experiences that we’re gonna have while we’re here.”

Likewise, Barber was grateful that the Filipinos welcomed the two of them “with open arms.”

“We’re just incredibly excited to be here and we look forward to seeing more around the country,” she said.

Apart from the two beauty queens, Tourism Undersecretary Katherine Chloe de Castro said 10 more candidates are expected to arrive in the country either today or tomorrow (December 10).

Alegre said the government is expecting for the arrival of the candidates from Korea, China, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, Korean, Malaysia, Myanmar and Vietnam.

De Castro said there would be a kick-off party for the Miss Universe candidates at the Conrad Hotel on Saturday, December 10. The candidates, she said, would also have a tour in Cebu, Siargao, Vigan, and Manila next week.

‘No need to hide Street dwellers’

De Castro said that as instructed by President Rodrigo Duterte, the government will not hide the street dwellers and homeless families because its focus is to promote the country’s beauty, despite the Filipinos’ plight.

She added that there will be no closed roads when the pageant’s activities start so as not to disrupt the daily routine of the Filipino people.

“The first thing he (Duterte) said [was] roads will not be closed, the people will not be kept. We will cater the Philippines’ beauty despite of poverty,” De Castro said.

De Castro was confident that there would be an increase in tourist arrivals now that the Miss Universe pageant will be hosted by the country.

To showcase the Philippines’ hidden treasures, De Castro said a lot of unknown destinations in the country will be featured in the final show of the Miss Universe.

“Rest assured that all the islands will be well represented – Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Millions will be watching and after the pageant, we are sure that the world, or the universe rather, will be thinking of one thing – that is the best time to visit the Philippines is now,” she said.

‘Duterte may serve as judge’

Meanwhile, De Castro said that it is prohibited to get a judge from a host country, but the President may be an exemption.

She said Duterte could be one of the judges in the Miss Universe 2017.

“Apparently, it’s a rule for Miss Universe Organization not to have a judge from the host country but I think, if it’s the President, that’s gonna be another. You know, I think they will make an exception to the rule,” De Castro said.

In fact, De Castro said she and Communications Secretary Martin Andanar are preparing a “gimmick” for Duterte and the pageant host, Steve Harvey.

It could be recalled that the President had opposed the hosting of Harvey of the prestigious event, following his erroneous announcement of winners during the crowning of Miss Universe 2016.

But De Castro clarified that Duterte was merely joking when he said he does not want Harvey to host the pegeant.

“We are preparing a gimmick between the President and Steve Harvey, so wait for that,” she said. (Sunnex)

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