DISAPPOINTMENT RULED over the surfing community as two major legs of the ongoing Nationals were canceled in Siargao, Surigao del Norte.
Both the Governor’s Cup: Tuwason Challenge and the Governor’s Cup: Tangbo Challenge were officially canceled earlier today.
168 surfers had signed up for the event, with participants coming from far afield as Ilocos Norte, Borongan City, Camalian Point, Baler, and La Union, according to a report from RPN DXKS Surigao.
The Governor’s Cup was originally scheduled for October 3, but had to be moved to October 5. However, the Tuwason Challenge was put on hold as negotiations to continue the tilts were still ongoing as of yesterday, with Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos meeting with provincial governor Lyndon Barbers, General Luna municipal mayor Sol Matugas, and other local government leaders about the event.
The municipality where the competitions will take place, maintains that the two competitions did not have the necessary permits to conduct the event, as mandated by Municipal Ordinance 026-22, series of 2022.
An earlier competition, the Mayor’s Cup, just wrapped on October 3, with home bet Noah Arkfeld emerging as champion in the men’s shortboard category. Siargao champ Nilbie Blancada, meanwhile, ruled over the women’s shortboard category.
There remains one final surfing competition in Siargao this month, the 26th International Siargao Surfing Cup, which is slated to begin on October 15.
Marama speaks up about Siargao competitions
Earlier this week, international champion surfer John Mark ‘Marama’ Tokong and other Siargaonon surfers issued a plea on his Instagram account for “the good leaders of Siargao Island [to] just declare a truce.”
Added Marama: “Please let us surf.”
In response, Surigao del Norte’s first district representative Bingo Matugas said in a public Facebook post, “We have always been for the rule of law and for a peaceful resolution. In fact, the Mayor’s Office even canceled other scheduled activities to give way to the activities of the Governor. The Mayor’s sacred oath ‘to obey the laws, legal orders, and decrees promulgated by the duly constituted authorities of the Republic of the Philippines’, compels her to abide by the law even when it comes to holding an event more especially for a sports event as dangerous as Surfing.
“Again, it is not difficult to secure a permit. Someone just has to take full responsibility for the event.”
In a report published in the Inquirer, provincial governor Lyndon Barbers denied that politics was behind the ongoing issues plaguing the now-canceled Governor’s Cup.
“There is no conflict [between the province and] the LGU (local government unit) of General Luna,” he said.