SUBJECT to necessary health and safety protocols, Rep. Sonny Lagon of AKO BISAYA Party List has reiterated his group’s collective appeal to President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to consider the gradual and safe resumption of the billion-peso gamefowl industry in general quarantine areas following the declining rate of coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) infections in the Philippines.
Lagon, vice chairman of the House Committee on Games and Amusements, wrote a second letter to Duterte urging the latter to allow the reopening of cockfighting events to help create jobs and rebuild the shuttered economy.
“Encouraged by the overwhelming support of the gamefowl industry, I take the liberty of reiterating our collective appeal to his Excellency’s sense of compassion for the resumption of cockfighting in general quarantine areas in the country subject to applicable health and safety protocols which the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) may prescribe under the new normal,” Lagon said in his second letter to the President dated October 6 and received by Malacañang on the same day.
Lagon expressed hope Duterte will consider their appeal to gradually reopen the cockfighting events as more industries are also slowly reviving.
“With your kind approval under a regulated resumption, the industry can contribute significantly in rebuilding the nation with much-needed revenues in terms of tax contribution to the national and local governments,” Lagon stressed.
“Mr. President, this representation’s appeal dated September 15, which was in support to the industry’s persistent clamor, was welcomed with
great excitement and anticipation by industry’s stakeholders, especially those coming from the society’s lower strata who have lost their livelihood due to the coronavirus pandemic. We respectfully submit, that is now safe to resume cockfighting in general quarantine areas and the stakeholders are ready to implement the necessary
measures to ensure that our patrons are safe and protected while inside cockfighting venues,” Lagon said.
In his first letter to Duterte dated September 15, 2020, Lagon amplified the gamefowl industry’s request to help “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.”
Lagon 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.
The AKO BISAYA Party List solon added that around 14,000 poultry supply stores nationwide are also severely affected and 60,000 breeders nationwide have suffered significant dips 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.
Lagon 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 added 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.