After sailing through another rough sea of controversy, the Philippine Dragon Boat Federation has been issued a special permit to stage its International Club Crew Competition Friday afternoon.
PDBF president Marcia Cristobal confirmed this to News5 shortly before 2 p.m.
Emerson Cabal, a private secretary at the office of Malay, Aklan Mayor John Yap, likewise confirmed the granting of the permit.
The development comes as a victory for the PDBF, though it presents another headache for them.
Cristobal, in a text message to News5, said that their event will be at Garden Paradise by the shores of Station 3. “Very far from the original venue,” she said. The club crew competition was supposed to be held by the shores of Station 2.
The permit was finally granted after Cristobal and International Dragon Boat Federation president Mike Haslam personally appealed to officials of Yap’s office this morning.
The PDBF earlier wasn’t allowed to set up its gear for the competition on Thursday, said Cabal, due to the absence of the said permit.
This caused concern for some 300 local and foreign participants joining the tournament, which was supposed to begin Thursday.
The Malay local government earlier denied the PDBF the special permit even if they sought for it ahead of the Boracay Island Paddlers Association (BIPA). Both were scheduled to have paddling competitions from April 26-28. The PDBF applied for its permit last February, while the BIPA applied for theirs last March.
The BIPA got the Philippine Canoe Kayak Federation (PCKF) as technical support group for the 6th Boracay International Dragon Boat Festival, which kicked off also in the Station 3 area yesterday.
Haslam, for his part, laments that the continuing tussle between the two dragon boat groups isn’t helping to promote the sport.
Nonetheless, he stands by the PDBF and urges all dragon boat enthusiasts to stand behind it.
“You don’t get soccer players (to) go into the rugby union or squash players go into the tennis union. So why should dragon boat (paddlers) choose the canoe federation? It doesn’t make sense. It’s not logical,” said Haslam.