DOT cancels Miss Universe fashion show in Davao due to ‘controversy’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Dec) – The Department of Tourism cancelled the Miss Universe fashion show originally scheduled in Davao City on Jan. 19 purportedly to avoid further “controversy.”

“As head of the ancillary events of the DOT for Miss Universe, I have decided to cancel the fashion show in Davao City. This is to prevent controversies that may arise from the statement made by the local designers of Davao City,” DOT Undersecretary Kat de Castro said in a Facebook post on Wednesday afternoon.

In response, the Davao Fashion and Design Council Foundation, Inc. (DFDCFI) said in a statement: “We respect Miss Universe Committee’s decision to cancel the show in Davao. However, the Davao visit of the Miss Universe candidates should push through even without the cultural show event. The candidates should not be deprived of the experience and distinct hospitality of Dabawenyos.”

Earlier this week, the group of designers expressed disappointment at being “brushed off” from the fashion show.

“We are taking this seriously,” designer Dodgie Batu said Wednesday morning during a guesting in a weekly press conference in Abreeza Mall.

DFDCFI has 11 registered members, although there are around 30 designers recognized by the group in Davao City.

In a statement, DFDCFI expressed disappointment on the “explicit disregard of local Davao-based and Mindanaon designers, in general, at the January 19th event of Miss Universe in SMX Convention Center in Davao City.”

“No consultation among local designers was done by the Miss Universe Committee, represented by Renee Salud, to address cordiality and propriety, at the least, as to the participation of the local designers here,” the group said.

“Call it proper and befitting, the Mindanaon designers have all the rights and benefits to best represent the distinctive fashion and style of Mindanao, in the first place,” the statement said.

“Adding insult to injury, is the proposal of the committee to ask local designers in dressing up local models instead during the pre-show cocktails of the main event ironically featuring a non-Mindanaon designer, Renee Salud, himself,” the group said.

Boy Guinoo, veteran fashion designer in Davao City, had this to say: “I am displeased by the insensitivity of the Miss Universe Committee, led by DOT Sec. Wanda Teo, to allow Renee Salud, a non-Mindanaon designer, to showcase the tapestry of Mindanao fashion in the Davao event of Miss Universe.”

“Sec. Teo, who is supposed to be a Mindanaon herself, must have used her capacity to intelligently think about the impact her decisions must have caused our local pride of place and its people. I would like to think mediocre politicking has overran her,” Guinoo said. (Jesse Pizarro Boga / MindaNews)