Not too fast – following the relaxed restrictions that govern cockfighting in the Philippines.
Many cockfighting enthusiasts must have thought that before long, the echoes of “parehas” (even odds), “logro diez” (100 wins 125), and “doblado” (1,000 wins 2,000) among other familiar terms in the countryside and some urban centers may compete with the noise from politically-inspired caravans.
Traditional cockfighting – in some areas this is known as “sabong” or “bulang” in the metropolis and south of the capital or “pallot” or “galiera” in many parts of northern Philippines – has recently been allowed in areas under alert level 2 following the dizzying jab of the coronavirus pandemic.
But this is subject to the discretion of the local government units and must follow minimum health standards as prescribed by the government.
And take heed.
On-site workers of the cockpit arenas should also be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and betting shall be cashless and shall use only technology-based platforms so there will be no physical contact anywhere in the cockpit nor “oral placing of bets.”
Betting shall be cashless and shall use technology-based platforms, which means no physical exchange of cash in the cockpit and no verbal placing of bets.
Minimum public health standards and technology-based betting shall be strictly enforced by the LGU where traditional cockfighting shall be conducted and monitored by the Department of the Interior and Local Government.
“We enjoin LGUs that will allow the resumption of cockfighting operations to strictly, strictly enforce and implement these protocols and to shut down operators that fail to adhere to minimum health standards,” Cabinet Secretary and acting presidential spokesan Karlo Nograles said.
Cockfighting, a sport of pitting gamecocks to fight, is regulated under Presidential Decree 449 or the Cockfighting Law of 1974 signed by then-President Ferdinand Marcos.
Nograles said the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases permitted the operation of cockpits and the resumption of traditional cockfighting under Alert Level 2.
But the Palace official said the decision to operate cockfighting was up to the respective LGUs if they would allow cockfighting, described by many observers of tradition as an incredible window of culture, in their areas.
And they would also decide on where this would take place.
We know that many “sabongeros” or “mammallot” or “bulangeros” are aching to see their gamecocks or their “ganador” take center stage in cockpit arenas – at least one in each of the 1,488 towns and 146 cities – with the eased restrictions since the coronavirus pandemic hit the country in mid-March of last year.
We agree with Nograles when he said local government units should be strict in enforcing minimum health standards at technology-based betting.
Some consider this bloody sport the country’s national sport, second to basketball. Others argue sabong, basketball, and politics are on the same rung.
In its resolution 154 released by the IATF, cockfighting arenas should have a maximum of 50 percent of their capacity, and only fully vaccinated individuals can enter.
Cockfighting, aptly described as brutal and bloody “sport” pits two gamecocks against each other, predicated on one killing the other – for all intents and purposes a fight to the finish which may be a gruesome and disgusting sight to others.
But those passionately addicted, testosterone-fueled, and adrenaline-raging “sabong” aficionados find this a slashingly entertaining fight-to-the-death that repeats itself 20 to 30 times in a single day of cockfighting.
Some have advanced the idea that this male-oriented pastime, lifted up by passion that transcends a quasi-religion, “is a common man’s grail.”