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Cockfighting groups seek IATF’ s help

THE cockfighting nation will pursue all avenues to convince the government to allow the resumption of cockfighting in the country subject to all the health and safety protocols.

One of the ways is to convince the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) Technical Working Group to take another look at the cockfighting community greatly affected by the coronavirus pandemic since March.

Well-known breeder Rep. EddieBong Plaza of Agusan del Sur is leading the call.

“Nananawagan po kami sa ating mga kaibigan sa IATF-TWG na muling tignan ang ating cockfighting industry,” said Plaza during his appearance in last Saturday’s Thunderbird Sabong Nation program over TV.

“Cockfighting industry may not be as big as the other industries, like the tourism. Pero kasama din po kami sa ekonomiya. Nasasaktan na din po ang madami sa amin kaya umaapela kami. Sana mapag-bigyan din kami,” said Plaza during the interview with program host Habagat Bagatsing.

“Sa Mindanao, desperado na po ang ating mga backyard breeders, pati na ang ibang mga kasama sa industriya,” said Plaza, adding most of them are now selling their fighting cocks at half the price just to survive.

Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra, who was also present during the program, agreed with Plaza’s observation.

Mitra expressed his solidarity with the call of the cockfighting stakeholders, but urged them to wait a little longer while the government continues to fight the spread of the virus.

“As I know, more than a million people depend on cockfighting as their means of livelihood. Yun iba sa sabungan na nga nakatira.There are also more than 30,000 registered breeders. Sa Digmaan, 6,000-7,000 na. Sa FIGBA, 7,000-9,000. Sa WPC, 12,000-16,000. Iba pa yun mga backyard breeders,” claimed Mitra.

Both Plaza and Mitra also reiterated their appeal to stop all tupadas and other illegal cockfighting activities.

“Puno na po ang mga hospital natin sa dami ng mga COVID cases. Wag na natin dagdagan ang problema ng ating gobyerno. Hindi lang ang gobyerno ang may obligasyon sa taong-bayan, kundi ang taong-bayan din sa gobyerno. Stay at home, stay safe,” said Plaza.

Mitra said eight GAB-licensed gaffers have already been arrested during raid by law enforcers in Batangas.

“Wag na po natin silang tularan, na ngayon ay kanselado na ang mga lisensya.”

Earlier, the International Federation of  Gamefowl Breeders Association, Inc. (FIGBA) sought the help of Mitra in appealing to the IATF to “allow the resumpion of derbies,with strict implementation of health protocols approved by them.”

FIGBA president Ricardo Palmares, Jr. said the 38-strong member associations with a total of 6,285 individual breeders and their various industry partners were greatly affected by the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus since March.

“Once we are allowed to resume our derbies even with very limited capacity, we would be able to sustain the livelihood of thousands of Filipino families that are dependent on our industry for their survival,” said Palmares in his letter to Mitra.