THE Cebu City Council has deferred approval of a proposed ordinance that seeks to grant a franchise for the operation of a “gaming arena for cockfighting” in Barangay Inayawan.

The measure, drafted by City Councilor Jose Daluz, was submitted for final deliberation last Wednesday.

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But Vice Mayor Michael Rama suggested a deferment for lawyer-members of the body to study the measure again.

“I’m not against increasing (the number of cockpits) but we must not also indiscriminately be granting (franchises),” he said.

After Daluz requested for approval of the proposal, Rama called a recess and huddled with Daluz and City Councilors Edgardo Labella and Gerardo Carillo.

After that brief discussion, session resumed and Daluz asked for a deferment of the ordinance “granting RMI Cockpit Arena a franchise to operate and maintain a gaming arena for cockfighting in Barangay Inayawan.”

Inayawan officials are endorsing the ordinance that allows the setting up of a cockpit in the barangay, convinced that it will deter illegal gambling.

“The operation of a cockpit in the barangay will give rise to an economic center providing opportunities for business, livelihood and employment,” read the measure.

It added that “the operation of a legal gaming arena for cockfighting is deemed to serve as a deterrent to the conduct of illegal gambling in the barangay.”

Inayawan officials agreed. Barangay Councilor Jose Labaya Sr. spoke for the ordinance during the public hearing in October last year. He said it would help generate revenues for the barangay.

Barangay Captain Rustico Ignacio attended last Wednesday’s city council session.

Under the proposed ordinance, RMI will gain the privilege to operate a cockpit for 25 years, reckoned from the date the ordinance is approved, and hold games with betting there.

RMI will pay the City an annual franchise tax of P30,000 due every Jan. 20 of each year within the granted period.

“(And) to achieve an orderly, clean and honest cockfighting…, the grantee shall provide the necessary facilities and personnel to ensure safety, security and convenience to the public,” read the ordinance.