SUBJECT to necessary health and safety protocols, Rep. Sonny Lagon of AKO BISAYA Party List has appealed to President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to consider the gradual resumption of the billion-peso gamefowl industry in general quarantine areas in the Philippines.
Lagon, vice chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusements, wrote a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte urging the Chief Executive to allow the reopening of cockfighting events to help create jobs and rebuild the shuttered economy.
“Confident of His Excellency’s sense of fairness and compassion, this representation joins in solidarity with the gamefowl industry in its urgent appeal for the resumption of cockfighting activities in general quarantine areas in the country subject to applicable health and safety protocols. This is in behalf of the millions of Filipinos who directly and indirectly earn a living from the industry but are now rendered jobless following the suspension of cockfighting activities nationwide due to the prevailing health crisis,” said Lagon in his letter to the President dated September 15 and received by Malacañang on the same day.
“As a respected son of the gamefowl industry being looked up to by many of its stakeholders, it is with deepest faith in His Excellency’s sense of fairness and compassion that I contribute my voice to the urgent plea for the resumption of regulated cockfighting activities in some parts of the country to revive the once-robust industry and extend a much-needed lifeline to hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who have lost their livelihood during the pandemic. As the health crisis now subsides and the economy gradually reopens, I share the consensus of industry players that it is now high time for the resumption of regulated cockfighting events in general quarantine areas subject, of course, to the necessary health and safety protocols under the new normal,” according to Lagon, a friend and staunch ally of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) led by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez as President.
He lamented that the gamefowl industry has suffered huge losses amounting to billions of pesos, including a sales drop of 50 percent to the P30-billion feeds industry and a loss of around P15 billion to veterinary products sector.
Lagon also said that around 14,000 poultry supply stores nationwide are also severely affected and 60,000 breeders nationwide have suffered significant dip in their sales.
“These include the 10,000 from the International Federation of Gamefowl Breeders Association or FIGBA comprising 42 local associations; 8,000 from the Pambansang Federation ng Gamefowl Breeders or PFGB (DIGMAAN) comprising 44 local associations; 12,000 from the World Pitmaster/Gamefowl Affiliates of Pitmasters-Philippines or GAPP and around 30,000 backyard breeders who all have suffered significant dips in sales,” he stressed.
He said this prompted the International Federation of Gamefowl Breeders Association, Inc. (FIGBA) “to submit a safety-guaranteed proposal to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) last June manifesting the industry’s willingness and readiness to adopt and implement the necessary measures aimed at ensuring that the industry is compliant to applicable safety and health standards.”
“Unfortunately, the same has remained unacted upon as of the present and it is for this reason that industry leaders have taken upon themselves to elevate our collective call to His Excellency knowing fully well that you have a soft spot for the poor and the needy,” the lawmaker said.
Lagon said the closure of over three thousand cockpits nationwide have led to the unemployment of hundreds of thousands of cockpit employees, “not to mention the cockpit vendors, farmhands and employees of companies engaged in the manufacture and sale of feeds, veterinary supplies, farm equipment and others which comprise the industry’s supply chain”.
He also said that no social amelioration program was specifically extended to the gamefowl industry that contributes hugely to the national economy.
“Though equally devastated as many other industries, the gamefowl industry is not seeking for direct assistance but the imprimatur for the resumption of regulated cockfighting activities in general quarantine areas,” Lagon ended.