Sarangani cancels SarBay Fest 2017

Beach volleyball in Gumasa, Glan municipality, during last year’s Sarangani Bay Festival (SarBay). File photo contributed by Russel Delvo, Sarangani Information Office

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 24 May) – The provincial government has cancelled the 12th edition of its famed Sarangani Bay Festival (SarBay) following the declaration by President Rodrigo R. Duterte of martial law in Mindanao late Tuesday night.

Sarangani Gov. Steve Chiongbian Solon and other top provincial officials decided to scratch the event before noon Wednesday, a day ahead of the scheduled opening of the three-day festival at the white sand beaches of Barangay Gumasa in Glan town.

In a statement, the provincial government said it “fully supports and undertakes to fully cooperate” with President Duterte’s declaration of martial law in Mindanao that was made following the terror attacks staged by members of the Maute Group in Marawi City on Tuesday.

It assured that the police and military are doing their jobs as mandated by the laws and the Constitution.

The statement said this year’s festivity, dubbed “SarBay Paradise,” is all set but organizers decided “to rest the event for this year, in light of our brothers and sisters’ current plight in Marawi.”

The decision to cancel the SarBay fest was made by the provincial government, festival organizers and their partners.

“The more prudent and moral choice of action, is to sympathize in prayer instead of pursuing the day and night activities of SarBay fest 2017,” it said.

The provincial government urged everyone to unite with them in prayer for peace in Mindanao and the people of Marawi, “in the spirit of national unity and in support of President Duterte’s [martial law[ declaration.”

Sarangani officials had expected another huge crowd of beach party-goers in this year’s SarBay festival, which is dubbed as the “biggest beach party in the southern Philippines.”

The SarBay crowd peaked at around 150,000 last year after reaching 126,000 during its 10th year in 2015.

The provincial government launched SarBay in 2006 to promote awareness on the protection and preservation of Sarangani Bay, which was declared a protected seascape in 1996 through Presidential Decree 756.

The Sarangani provincial board or Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed a resolution “making SarBay a tool for environmental awareness.” (MindaNews)