SUBJECT to necessary health and safety protocols, a House leader on Tuesday appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to consider the gradual resumption of cockfighting events in the Philippines to help create jobs and rebuild the economy.
Lagon, a friend and ally of Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) led by House Majority Leader and Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez as President, underscored the need to create more opportunities while the government is battling the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We appeal for the gradual reopening of cockfighting events in the government’s continuing efforts to reboot and rebound the economy from months of devastation caused by COVID-19,” said Lagon, vice-chairman of the House committee on games and amusement, lamenting that the COVID-19 crisis resulted to the closure of 1,210 cockpits nationwide.
“We assure that health and safety protocols will be strictly observed. The gradual reopening will be a significant contributor to restore jobs and eventually foster economic growth. Our call is designed to help the depleted sources of revenue for the government as a result of months of lockdown,” Lagon explained.
Lagon was joined by Abra Rep. Joseph Sto. Niño Bernos, chairman of the House committee on games and amusement, in making a strong appeal through a letter to IATF-EID to help the gamefowl industry.
“Bearing the brunt mostly are the cockpit employees and workhands and their families who rely solely on the industry for their livelihood. They are now among the millions of Filipinos who rely on government assistance to survive this crisis,” according to the letter to IATF-EID.
The closure of the gamefowl industry reportedly resulted to a sales drop of 50 percent to the P30-billion feeds industry and a loss of around P15 billion to veterinary products sector.
It was learned that around 14,000 poultry supply stores nationwide were also severely affected, while 30,000 breeders nationwide suffered significant dip in sales by the pandemic.
Due to the suspension of cockfighting events, the sales in the industry that reportedly produces three million heads annually and the prices of gamefowl have significantly dropped due to much lower demand leading to oversupply.
“Thus, in recognition of their contributions and in order to keep their livelihoods afloat, we come now to respectfully request your kind indulgence and guidance to allow the resumption of cockfighting activities on a limited scale,” they said.