The youngest son of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. received VIP treatment as he checked out the Pacific Ocean-facing beaches of Davao Oriental on Monday, March 20.
The 25-year-old Vinny Marcos, an intern at the House of Representatives, was with officers of the United Philippine Surfing Association (UPSA), exploring the province’s beaches and potential surfing destinations. He was accepted as an intern for his uncle, Speaker Martin Romualdez, last January (Romualdez is a cousin of the President), and was to receive training in the legislative processes.
The younger Marcos’ visit to Davao Oriental was unannounced. Governor Corazon Malanyaon, however, confirmed a day later that the President’s son and his group were given a tour by local government officials of the beaches in Davao Oriental’s eastern towns of Boston, Cateel, Baganga, Caraga, Manay, and Tarragona.
The unshaven Vinny, who was just wearing a green T-shirt, cargo pants, and slippers, was also given a tour of the capitol-run Subangan Museum by the governor herself.
Mayor Michelle Rabat of Mati, the capital city of Davao Oriental, said the younger Marcos and his companions also checked out top surfing sites in Mati City and were accompanied by members of the Mati Watersports Association.
The capitol said Marcos’ group of surfing enthusiasts expressed interest in bringing a major surfing event to Davao Oriental, which has the longest coastline in Mindanao.
Malanyaon said she and UPSA president Jose Raul Canlas, who was with Marcos, discussed the group’s plan to bring the country’s biggest surfing event to Davao Oriental. She added that Canlas and his organization saw Davao Oriental as a “dream destination” for surfers, owing to its crystal-clear white sand beaches and “perfect waves.”
In October 2022, UPSA, the national governing body for professional surfing in the country, became embroiled in controversy due to a dispute between the Barbers and Matugas political dynasties in Surigao del Norte in the Caraga region.
The disagreement caused the cancellation of the 2nd and 3rd legs of a national surfing competition that was to take place on Siargao Island, known as the country’s surfing capital.
Following the cancellation, UPSA moved to other dates in 2022 the 2nd and 3rd legs of the Pilipinas Surfing Nationals from Siargao Island to Aurora and Eastern Samar, respectively.
According to Malanyaon, the provincial government welcomed UPSA’s plan to hold a similar surfing event in Davao Oriental, saying it would boost local tourism. She said she told Vinny that local officials would appreciate help in strengthening Davao Oriental’s tourism industry in the hopes of creating opportunities and reducing the province’s poverty rate.
Davao Oriental and Mati officials have been collaborating to reopen the mothballed government-owned airport in Mati City to boost Davao Oriental’s tourism.
The airport, which was originally named after Vinny’s grandmother and former first lady Imelda Marcos, has been a white elephant for decades. It was allegedly built just to make it easier for the former first lady to visit a family friend in Mati.
In January, Romualdez introduced Vinny – a graduate of the Oxford Brookes University in Britain who subsequently worked as a software engineer in Singapore – as his special assistant whose training was to be supervised and overseen by the Speaker himself. – Rappler.com
Ferdinand Zuasola is an Aries Rufo Journalism fellow.
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