Authorities to inspect cockpits following reports of violations

Local cockpits that have resumed operations will be inspected by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Rural Health Units (RHUs) after violations of health protocols were reported.

In its report on the status of cockfighting activities as of March 8, 2021, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) provincial office said that of the eight (8) cofkfighting arenas that have resumed operations, at least four have been reported to have violated the stringent requirements set by the DILG last year.

Pursuant to DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2020-140 providing for the resumption of cockfighting activities in MGCQ areas, licensed cockpits are allowed to reopen subject to the strict observance of health and safety protocols, with no in-person audience, online or remote betting and live broadcasting of the cockfights. The reopening is also subject to the sound judgment of local government units.

Among the health protocols required are the wearing of face mask and full-face shields, physical distancing, temperature checks upon entry, regular disinfection and handwashing, display of proper signage and adequate ventilation.

The guidelines allow a maximum of only three (3) persons inside the ring and four (4) owners and one handler per owner outside the ring.

Shouting of bets is also prohibited while cashless betting via e-wallet, mobile phones and tablets are highly encouraged, with live-streaming devices not allowed inside the arena.

The cockpit arenas operating regularly every weekend or Sunday are in Bagamanoc, Bato, Caramoran, Pandan, Panganiban, San Andres, Viga and Virac.

According to the DILG report, health protocols were observed on the first day of operation at P. Araojo Coliseum on Jan. 17, 2021 but on succeeding operations, the temperature check, foot bath and hand sanitation upon entry were no longer complied with. There were also violations regarding the number of persons inside the cockpit itself.

Violations of the guidelines were also noted at St. Bede Cockpit Arena in San Andres and the SAV Gamefowl Arena in Viga.

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