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Singson opens up about Miss Universe Philippines franchise

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Former Gov. Luis “Chavit” Singson of Ilocos Sur finally opened up about rumors that the Miss Universe Philippines franchise has been acquired by his LCS Group of Companies.

During interviews on separate radio shows on DzRH and DzMM Thursday, Singson revealed that the Miss Universe Philippines franchise has been offered to his company by the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) based in New York City.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray during her courtesy call on the President at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on December 20, 2018. Also in the picture is former Ilocos Sur Governor and businessman, Luis "Chavit" Singson. (KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte chats with Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray during her courtesy call on the President at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on December 20, 2018. Also in the picture is former Ilocos Sur Governor and businessman, Luis “Chavit” Singson. (KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Singson said that the offer was made after the franchise agreement between the MUO and the Bb. Pilipinas Charities, Inc. (BPCI) expired recently.

“Pinag-iisipan ko pa. Pinag-aaralan ko pa. (I’m thinking about it. I’m still studying it),” said Singson during radio interviews. “Dahil baka dagdag trabaho iyan. Hindi kagaya yung sponsor, hindi masyadong ma-trabaho. (It might be additional work. Unlike being a sponsor, there is less work).”

If this pushes through, then the Miss Universe Philippines title would have a separate national search outside of the BPCI camp.

So far, the annual Bb. Pilipinas beauty contest sends representatives to international pageants such as Miss Universe, Miss International, Miss Supranational, Miss Grand International, Miss Globe, and Miss Intercontinental.

Since the 1960s, the BPCI has been sending delegates to the Miss Universe contest. Aside from newly crowned Miss Universe Catriona Gray, the same group has produced three other Miss Universe winners from the Philippines: Gloria Diaz (1969), Margie Moran (1973) and Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach (2015).

In January 2017, Singson funded the staging of the 2016 Miss Universe beauty contest in Manila. But the politician-businessman admitted that he will produce the 2019 Miss Universe beauty pageant in South Korea.

“Mula nung ako ay nag-sponsor, taon-taon tumutulong ako sa kanila. Kaya nung sa Bangkok ginawa, nakatulong din ako. Next year, na-arrange ko na sa South Korea at sasama ang North Korea,” said Singson. (Since I became a sponsor, I have been helping Miss Universe every year. When it was held in Bangkok, I also helped them. Next year, I already arranged it in South Korea and North Korea will join).

Singson did not give any deadline as to when he will decide on the franchise. But sources at the BPCI said that the annual search for the 2019 batch of Binibini queens will begin after the staging of the 47th Miss Intercontinental pageant in Manila on Jan. 26.

Speculations about the franchise made the news when Singson facilitated the arrival of Gray in the Philippines last Dec. 19 via his private plane from Bangkok, Thailand.

On Dec. 20, Chavit’s daughter, architect Richelle Singson-Michael, who was one of judges at 2018 Miss Universe pageant, said that she does not want to talk about the issue on franchise.

But Richelle said that Gray is coming back to Manila sometime in January or February 2019 for her first major press conference and homecoming parade as Miss Universe.

Gray is now in New York City to begin her reign as Miss Universe. She will also attend to a series of press tours which will start on Jan. 7.

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