INTERNATIONAL SURFING CUP. Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco (center) leads the ceremonial breaking of a surfboard to open the 26th Siargao International Surfing Competition in Gen. Luna town on Saturday night (Oct. 15, 2022). Frasco said the national government will give its support to the efforts to help Siargao Island recover from the effects of the pandemic and fully revive the island’s tourism industry. (PNA photo by Alexander Lopez)

GEN. LUNA, Siargao Island – Tourism Secretary Cristina Frasco has assured top officials and the people of Siargao Island of full support from the national government to bring back the island’s standing and stature as a top tourist destination, not only in the country but also in the world.

This, as Frasco graced the ceremonial breaking of a surfboard, one of the highlights of the opening of the week-long 26th Siargao International Surfing Competition, on Saturday night.

Tourism, Frasco said, is a top priority in the development agenda of the administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Marcos, she added, has directed the Department of Tourism (DOT) to introduce institutional changes to reinvigorate the tourism industry in the country after the outbreak of the pandemic and its rippling effects on the economy.

“And therefore, I am here to deliver the message to all of you, that the national government is here to help Siargao recover and rise to the primary position that it deserves in the world,” Frasco said.

She added that more tourism infrastructures and improved connectivity are among the priorities that the DOT will facilitate to help Siargao Island revive its tourism industry.

The DOT chief also asked the leaders of the House of Representatives present during the occasion to support the initiatives of the agency for the recovery of Siargao Island.

House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe of the 2nd district of Zamboanga City and Deputy Speaker Vincent Franco Frasco of Cebu’s 5th district joined Surigao del Norte 1st district Rep. Francisco Jose Matugas II during the ceremony.

“The resumption of this international surfing cup is not only a celebration of the fact that you have been able to put this up for 26 years but also a celebration of the strength of spirit of the people of Siargao,” Frasco said.

She added: “The waves of Siargao are known to break surfboards. And yet, none of the difficulties and challenges that you have faced have ever served to break your spirit Siargao. Perhaps, because you’ve been very well trained by the strength of your waves.”

The tourism secretary also handed over a PHP1 million check as support of the agency to the local government of Gen. Luna.

Mayor Sol Matugas, who received the check was thankful to Fracsco and the top officials who joined the ceremony.

Presidential son Vinny Marcos, a known surfing enthusiast, was also present on the occasion.

The ongoing international surfing cup in Siargao, which is considered by the World Surfing League (WSL) as a qualifier for upcoming surfing events in Asia, is participated in by 92 surfers from the country and around the world.

The ceremony on Saturday was also joined by top WSL officials, the participating surfers, and the residents of Gen. Luna. (PNA)