Speech of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte during the Ceremonial Presentation of the 65th Miss Universe Competition Contestants and Miss Universe Organization
Rizal Hall, Malacañan Palace
23 January 2017
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Secretary Wanda Corazon Tulfo-Teo, the other members of the Cabinet, former Governor Chavit Singson, Ms. Paula Shugart of the— President of the Miss Universe organization, candidates of the 65th Miss Universe competition, fellow workers in government, my beloved countrymen.

Before I proceed, I’d like to make an admission that never in my life, I have been with a room full of beautiful women. (applause) This is either privilege and an honor and I hope that this day will never end. (laughter)

I usually do not read my speeches. I’m not up to it really but this time because they told me that I must behave (laughter) in my language, in the adjectives that I would be using to characterize or define your beauty, all of you.

And I must say that God is really good. Aside from the worries of governance, with all the troubles in the world, when we look at you, we forget the universe, but only you.

So we thank the Miss Universe organization for allowing us to host the 65th edition of the prestigious international competition.

It is an event which has undeniably brought enormous pride and joy for the countries of winning candidates. We all share of fame to our very own Ms. Gloria Diaz, Ms. Margarita Moran, and the reigning Ms. Pia Wurtzbach.

I’m confident that the Department of Tourism and our valuable partners in the private sector— for government have prepared well enough to make this event to remember.

And I am equally confident that our host, communities, and the Filipino people would themselves have given and will give each candidate many precious memories to hold on.

I hope that the contestants had a wonderful time visiting places such as Vigan, Cebu, Baguio, Batangas, and Davao. It is truly a great honor for us to be sharing you—your most beautiful destinations including the rich culture and history behind each of these gems.

More than presenting beauty and brains, the Miss Universe competition or any beauty contestant for that matter is an opportunity for you to represent your country, to promote your advocacies, and to advance women empowerment to a greater audience.

More importantly, this is chance for you to make an impact to inspire change, and even be the change that you wish to see in the world.

That is why, I hope that you will continue to make this out of your time here in the competition and in your country.

Once again, please accept our modest hospitality, and our offer of enduring friendship, our warmest welcome and promise an even more delights in the days to come.

That’s the end of my speech. But there is something more that I must do and even without you participating, may I just give you a toast by myself to your beauty and to your brains.

Mabuhay kayong lahat. (applause)