THE Davao City Covid-19 Task Force is apprehensive in allowing the in-person conduct of cockfighting (sabong) in the city despite it being allowed under Alert Level 1.

"Sa Alert Level 1, allowed man siya [sabong] (Under an Alert Level 1 status, cockfighting activities are allowed), but the Covid-19 Task Force members expressed some concerns," Covid-19 Task Force Spokesperson Dr. Michelle Schlosser said in an interview on 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

According to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF), traditional sabong is allowed in the areas under Alert Level 1.

But the IATF also allows the local government to modify the implementation of the guidelines to their respective localities.

Schlosser explained that allowing the operation of in-person sabong might be vulnerable to the transmission of the Covid-19 virus, as bettors and other people in the playing venue will be shouting, possibly transmitting the virus through droplets.

Schlosser also recalled that the Araw ng Dabaw cockfight derby in the Matina Gallera in March 2020 became the "ground zero" of the Covid-19 transmission not only in Davao City but also the entire Mindanao.

The health official also admitted that the task force is also apprehensive in allowing the operation of other gambling activities in the city.

But she said the task force is still studying it. Among the proposals is to only allow fully vaccinated bettors to enter the vicinity.

Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said in an interview streamed live on her Facebook page on Monday, February 28, that the city is not keen on allowing the in-person sabong anytime soon.

"Sa pagkakaron, wala pa tay ana nga direction for the City Government of Davao na pag-abli sa atong (As of now, the City Government of Davao is still not leaning toward the direction of allowing) face-to-face [sabong], mainly because diri sa mga ing-ani nga areas, ang mga tao dikit-dikit, and nagasyagitay. Kabalo na ka sa Covid-19, laway gyud ang kapital anang virus (in these areas, people are close to each other, and they are shouting. You know how Covid-19 virus is transmitted through droplets coming out from the mouth)," Duterte-Carpio said.

She also said she will leave it to the next administration to decide in allowing the operation of sabong in the city.

Davao City Police Office (DCPO) spokesperson Maria Teresita Gaspan said in a press conference that they were able to arrest 71 individuals involved in illegal cockfighting from January 1 to 31, 2022.

Gaspan said they are also intensifying their operation not only in the traditional sabong, but also with the electronic sabong (esabong).

This, after Philippine National Police Chief Dionardo Carlos and the DCPO ordered the inspection of their personnel’s cellphones in a bid to stop cops from engaging in online cockfight betting also known as e-sabong.