COCKFIGHTING in the country can expect better days ahead.
Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra believes cockfighting could finally get the green light from the Inter-Agency Task Force on Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) for its much-awaited resumption anytime soon.
“Hintay lang tayo ng konti pa. GAB is doing everything possible so we can resume cockfighting while following the safety and health protocols by the IATF and the Department of Health,” said Mitra in an interview with People’s Tonight yesteday.
“We have conducted a series of online meetings with the IATF Technical Working Group for the return of sabong,” added Mitra, whose agency GAB is tasked to coordinate the safe resumption of all professional sports under the new normal.
Last Oct. 7, GAB and the DOH have already submitted to the IATF Working Group a master plan for the return of cokfighting, especially in areas with low to moderate cases of COVID-19 cases.
“NEDA (National Economic Development Authority) decided that our request for the return of sabong is more of a health issue than economic. Kaya tumakbo na kami sa DOH para humingi ng tulong sa technical side para sa mas mahigpit na health and safety program,” explained Mitra.
Earlier this month, professional sports, such as basketball and boxing, were allowed by the IATF thru GAB.
The PBA, Asia’s first play-for-pay league, resumed its coronavirus-interrupted 45th season in an NBA-inspired bubble environment at the Angeles University Sports Arena in Pampanga last Sunday.
Also set to open is the Chooks-to-Go 3×3 basketball competition at the INSPIRE Sports Academy in Calamba, Laguna this week.
Pro boxing also restarted with a blockbuster Kumbati 5 card presented by Omega Promotions in Mandaue City late last week.
Horseracing also got going.
“Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa suporta ng iba’t ibang mga sektor sa sabong, pati na ang mga masigasig na indibidwual, tulad ni Cong. Sonny Lagon para patuloy na mai-angat ang sabong sa gitna ng pandemic,” added Mitra.
Mitra, a three-time lawmaker from Palawan, admitted that the cockfighting industry was also heavily-affected by the pandemic since early March.
GAB said around 16,173 licensed cockpit personnel, including gaffers and sentenciadors, have lost their means of livelihood during the outbreak.
Last month,the International Federation of Gamefowl Breeders Association, Inc. (FIGBA) urged President Duterte to allow the resumption of derbies, with strict implementation of health and safety protocols.
“We appeal to your generous heart, Mr. President, to allow the resumption of the derbies with strict implementations of health protocols as we remain a committed partner in your administration’s efforts to promote cultural and tourism activities through our sports events which may also help soften the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in our economy,” said FIGBA president Ricardo Palmares, Jr. in the letter.