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GAB submits new ‘health and safety’ protocol to IATF for sabong return

THE return of sabong is imminent as the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) with the support of the Department of Health (DOH) already submitted a much stricter policy in safety and health protocol.

GAB Chairman Abraham ‘Baham’ Mitra said a new set of guidelines on safety and health protocol was formulated with the help of the DOH and forwarded to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) Technical Working Group last October 7.

“We have a series of online meeting with the IATF Technical Working Group for the return of sabong as early as July. But the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) decided that our request is more on health issue than economic, kaya tumakbo na kami sa DOH para humingi ng tulong sa technical side para sa mas mahigpit na ‘health and safety’ protocol,” said Mitra.

“Hintay lang tayo ng konti pa. Yung naisumite ng GAB na healty and safety protocol sa IATF Technical Working Group ay masasabi po nating mabibigyan ng timbang lalo na sa mga lugar na nasa ilalim na ng Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).”

“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa tulong at suporta ng mga Breeders Association, Gamefowl Association at iba pang indibidwal na involved sa industriya, tulad ni Cong. Sonny Lagon para patuloy na maiangat ang sabong sa gitna ng pandemic,” added the former Palawan Governor and Congressman.

Mitra expressed his concerned with thousand of personnel, employees and farm workers who were affected with the closure of pit stadiums but asked for their understanding and patience as GAB is working hard to save the sabong industry amid COVID-19 pandemic.

Recently, the IATF approved the recommendation under the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) jointly formed by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), DOH and GAB for the return professional basketball, football, horseracing, boxing and other contact sports under strict health and safety protocol.

“Health is foremost in our priority, pero kailangan nang makabalik sa trabaho ng mga apektadong personnel, employees and workers. So magagawa naman natin pagsabahin sa tulong ng tamang pagpapatupad ng programa,” said Mitra.

GAB record showed that a total of 16,173 licensed cockpit personnel comprised of mananari, senticiador and manggagamot lost their livelihood since lockdown was imposed and temporarily closed down all pit arena in the country since March.

Mitra said that the Gamefowl Commission and UACOOP claimed that 18,000 individual who has a direct connecton in sabong industry has since lost their jobs.

Meantime, in the Internal Research of San Miguel Corp. record showed that atleast 15,000 stores selling gamefowl products has 60,000 affected employees.

While the International Federation of Gamefowl Breeders Association (FIGBA) claimed a total of 200,000 farm employees were also affected by the pandemic.

“Lahat po ng datos na ito ay isinumite natin sa NEDA at sa IATF. Tunay pong prioridad ang kalusugan, pero may mga programa naman po tayo dito kaya umaasa kami na maibabalik na rin ang sabong ASAP,” said  Mitra.

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