THE “Sabong Nation” will have to wait — again.
That’s because the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) asked for more time for review before recommending the re-opening of cockfighting operations in the country during the quarantine period.
In a letter to the Games and Amusemens Board (GAB) dated Sept. 11, NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon of the Policy and Planning Group said the proposed minimum health standard for the re-opening of cockfighting operations needs to be approved by the Department of Health.
“We recognize the negative impact of the closure of cockpits and ban on cockfighting on the livelihood and income of industry stakeholders,” wrote Edillon in her reply-letter to GAB Chairman Abraham “Baham” Mitra.
“However, the decision to re-open any economic sector has to be based on factors that affect COVID-19 transmission, or more particularly, how the operation of the business, including the operation of allied services could affect COVID-19 transmission,” the letter stated.
“We are of the position that this is a health issue and should be decided by the Department of Health and approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force of Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-EID). Further, the proposed minimum health standards and enforcement protocols need to be reviewed and approved by the DOH, as well.”
The NEDA response followed the GAB proposal for “Minimum Health Standards for the Re-Opening of Cockfighting Operations” during a meeting last Aug. 18.
Earlier, 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.
“The biggest players in our industry include San Miguel Feeds, UNILAB, Gokengwei Group, Lucio Tan Group, Aboitiz, Purina, Charoen Pokphand of Thailand, Excellence Poultry and Livestock Specialist, Lakpue Drugs, Inc. and hundreds of feed mills and veterinary product companies,” he added.
“We are law-abiding gamefowl breeders who rely on the sense of judgment and fairness of the officials, who composed the IATF.”
FIGBA assured the government that the 20-year-old federation composed of 42 provincial gamefowl breeders associations all over the country will follow the government efforts to fight the spread the disease.
A copy of the proposal was already sent to the IATF.