Surigao del Norte gov cancels surfing tilt amid political tension

surigao del norte surfing

FINDING COMFORT. A teary-eyed Surigao del Norte Gov. Robert Lyndon Barbers comforts members of the Siargao Island Surfers Association after calling off a provincial government-organized national surfing competition in Del Carmen town. Barbers blamed his political rivals for denying them access to a surfing area. CHRIS PANGANIBAN

GENERAL LUNA, SURIGAO DEL NORTE — Surigao del Norte Gov. Robert Lyndon Barbers has canceled the holding of the 1st Governor’s Cup National Surfing Competition here that was supposed to run from Oct. 5 to 13.

“I decided to cancel this tourist-attracting event to prevent the people of Siargao from being caught in the middle of two boulders heading for collision,” Barbers said.

He announced the cancellation of the event, sanctioned by the United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA), to a group of surfers gathered outside the Tuazon Point beach.

The group of Barbers and some 200 surfers who registered for the event were not able to enter the surfing area, which was fenced off with a plastic rope after General Luna town Mayor Sol Matugas did not give them a permit to hold the competition.

A statement from Matugas said Barbers did not apply for a permit from the local government to hold the event.

After announcing the cancellation, the surfers gathered around a teary-eyed Barbers to offer him comfort.

The Governor’s Cup could have been a preliminary and qualifying event to the 26th International Siargao Surfing Cup that is set to kick off on Oct. 15 at the Cloud 9 Beach Resort.

Matugas also sponsored a similar qualifying event from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4. It was also sanctioned by UPSA.

Matugas is the wife of former Gov. Francisco Matugas whom Barbers unseated last May.

READ: Surigao del Norte exec denies politics behind Siargao’s surfing fest