Labella awaits guidelines on allowing cockfighting
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - October 21, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has directed the city’s Gamefowl Commission to come up with a set of guidelines on the operation of licensed cockpits and the conduct of cockfighting activities in the city.

“These guidelines should be consistent with pertinent issuances of the IATF-MEID and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), including the prohibition of in-person audience, online or remote betting, and live broadcasting or telecasting of cockfights, among others,” Labella’s memorandum reads.

“Further, in coming up with these guidelines, adequate consultations should be made with different stakeholders,” it added.

Labella, in a phone interview, clarified that the city is yet to decide on whether to allow the licensed cockpit operations in the city, stressing that the responsibility of the Gamefowl Commission is to look into the matter and make the proper recommendations.

“It does not follow that we will agree. We still have to listen,” said Labella.

To recall, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has allowed cockfighting in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ). Cebu City is currently under MGCQ.

However, local government units will still have the last say as to whether the operation of licensed cockpits and cockfighting can proceed in their respective localities.

“The local government will find a way on how we could impose certain restrictions and guidelines, if assuming, that we will agree or we will grant. That is why I tasked the Gamefowl Commission to listen first and then after listening, ask them what are their proposals to ensure that the minimum health protocols are observed, are complied with,” said Labella.

Labella said there are about three or four licensed cockpits in the city and it is better for the city government to know what are the restrictions or the safeguards that they can offer.

“If we find it to be convincing, then maybe, maybe we can agree. But, what is important, what is primordial is the health of our people. We understand there are aficionados, we understand that they are so excited. But more than the excitement, let us always take into consideration the lives of our people because the virus is still very much around and I hope that they will understand,” said Labella.

“We are just after for their welfare. It’s not because that we do not want them to enjoy, that we would frustrate their excitement. We want them to be happy because I know cockfighting aficionados are really very excited. But, we have to be assured that there are sufficient safeguards, sufficient health protocols to ensure that there will be no surge, that our people inside the cockpits are protected,” he added.

Labella will wait for the report of the Gamefowl Commission headed by Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia. — FPL (FREEMAN)

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