SAYING that the event is only for the rich, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña wants the annual Miss Cebu pageant to be stopped.
This is also one way of reducing the City Government’s expenses, he said.
“The City’s financial status, it’s terrible. That’s why I’m trying to chop down in all these expenses. Miss Cebu will be canceled. It is a waste of money. It is very elitist. It is only for the rich,” said Osmeña, who returned as mayor last Thursday after three years as congressman and three years as a private citizen.
The mayor lamented that the City already had more than a P6-billion deficit in its transactions and operations last year, which the Commission on Audit (COA) found out.
The Miss Cebu pageant, which is among the activities during the one-week annual Sinulog celebration, is organized by the Cebu City Tourism Commission.
They spend around P200,000 to P300,000 for it to be staged. In recent years, it has been held in the Waterfront Cebu City Hotel and Casino.
As a replacement for the Miss Cebu pageant, Osmeña said the commission may hold a barangay-based pageant.
“But right now, I’m not thinking of spending money. I am thinking of saving money,” he added.
Sun.Star Cebu tried to get comments from the commission but they were not available yesterday.
Sinulog Foundation Inc. (SFI) Executive Director Ricky Ballesteros, for his part, said that stopping Miss Cebu would be a loss.
The pageant, originally called Miss Sinulog then changed to Miss Cebu Tourism, started in 1984 or 32 years ago.
“Sayang because it is already an institution and it is already part of the Sinulog celebration. Maybe they can make it pang-masa and tone down the pageant,” he said.
Ballesteros said the event can be held in another venue, instead of a plush hotel.
In the past, Ballesteros recalled, they conducted a barangay-based pageant, Miss Teen Cebu City, for 10 years. It was organized by then congressman now Councilor Joy Augustus Young.
“Almost all barangays joined and supported their candidates. Most of the winners even joined Miss Cebu eventually,” Ballesteros said.
If Miss Cebu will no longer be held, Ballesteros said Sinulog revelers may choose to watch the Sinulog Festival Queen competition, although it is a different kind of pageant since it focuses on the grace of the competing contingents’ lead dancers.
Miss Cebu, on the other hand, promotes Cebu as a tourist destination and its winners serve as ambassadresses of Cebu.