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IATF approves the return of cockfighting and OTB in areas under MGCQ and GCQ

‘Sa pula, sa puti’ chant is back.

AFTER thorough deliberation following a series of discussion with the Games and Amusements Board (GAB), the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease on Thursday issued a resolution announcing the return of cockfighting activities (sabong) and horseracing Off-Track Betting (OTB) in areas under lower quarantine level.

In a resolution made after the IATF Technical Group video conference dated October 15 and signed by Cabinet Secretary and IATF Co-Chairperson Karlo Nograles and National Task Force Chairperson and National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, cockfighting operation ang activities are allowed in areas under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ).

The operation of OTB, likewise, are now allowed in areas under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) provided that health and safety protocol are strictly observed.

GAB Chairman Mitra (right) and Commissioner Ed Trinidad.

“The operation of license cockpits and the conduct of cockfighting activities shall hereinafter be allowed in the areas placed under Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) or lower, subjects in strict observance with the health and safety protocols and implementing guidelines as may be issued by the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG). Provided, that in-person audience, online or remote betting and the live broadcasting/telecasting of cockfights shall not be permitted. Provided finally, that the local government units shall have the final decision on whether such the operation of licensed cockpits and the conduct of cockfighting activities can proceed in their respective localities,” said the IATF resolution.

“Off-track horse race betting stations may operate in the areas under the community quarantine classification of General Community Quarantine (GCQ) or lower, subject to health and safety protocols to facilitate the orderly conduct of betting therein,” it stated.

Also, the IATF in an effort to lessen its task and responsibility, further directed all organization and party concerned to submit their future request for sports activities return to the respective Regional Task Force COVID-19 office with the support of its Local Government Units (LGU).

GAB Chairman Abraham ‘Baham’ Mitra expressed his heartfelt gratitude with the IATF officials claiming the decision is a huge shot in the arm not only for affected workers and personnel but to the whole sabong industry.

“We are happy and relieved that millions of people depending on horseracing and cockfighting will be allowed to go back to their livelihood again. We thank the IATF for making sure of the safety of the sabungeros. Our gratitude also to the cockfight operators, breeder associations, our congressmen sympathetic to the industry, agri vet companies, media and others who have one way or another helped push for the resumption,” said  Mitra.

“My call to sabungero is let’s be safe and follow the strict health and safety protocols provided by the IATF and the DILG,” he added.

Since July, Mitra said that GAB with the help of the Department of Health (DOH) is working doubly hard to formulate ‘safety and health’ protocol that is acceptable for cockfighting activities.

GAB record showed that a total of 16,173 are licensed cockpit personnel comprised of mananari, senticiador and manggagamot have lost their jobs since lockdown enforced in March.

The Gamefowl Commission and UACOOP claimed that 18,800 employees are directly connected in sabong industry, while the Internal Research Office of the San Miguel Corp., stated that 60,000 are employed in 15,000 stores selling vitamins, medicine and cockfight accessories.

Also, the International Federation of Gamefowl Breeders Association (FIGBA) said that 200,000 individuals are working in affiliated gamefowl farms in the country.

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