THE solution to eliminating illegal cockfighting is to open legal arenas for the blood sport, according to the Cebu City Gamefowl Commission.
City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia, commission chairman, said they have submitted a recommendation to Mayor Edgardo Labella to reopen cockpit arenas in the city.
However, Garcia said regulations will be imposed if Labella grants the recommendation.
Under the proposed guidelines, no audience will be allowed inside the arena. Only players, their teams and handlers will be allowed inside. Also, there will be no yelling.
Garcia said allowing cockpit arenas to reopen will also contribute to the revival of the city’s economy.
“Kanang cockfighting is already an industry in itself kay daghan kaayog mga player niana (Cockfighting is already an industry in itself because there are so many players). That is also a way in reviving the panginabuhi sa mga tawo (livelihood of the people),” he said.
Garcia said the reason many persons are apprehended for participating in a “tigbakay,” the local term for an illegal cockfighting event, is because “there are no legal venues for them” to do cockfighting.
“It will only become legal if there are permits,” said Garcia.
Garcia, though, said the mayor still has doubts on whether to reopen the four cockpit arenas in the city, considering that coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases remain high.
As of Saturday, March 6, 2021, Cebu City recorded 3,565 active cases, based on the data released by the Department of Health 7.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in the city has reached 18,464, with 14,140 recoveries and 759 fatalities.
The commission’s recommendation came after City Councilor Phillip Zafra, who is public order committee chairman, said the police will “be serious” in apprehending those found engaged in illegal cockfighting.
The National Inter-Agency Task Force allows the operation of cockpit arenas in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
Cebu City is on MGCQ, but the mayor is afraid that allowing cockpit arenas to operate will generate crowds. (JJL)