Now that the fiesta season in the month of May is fast approaching, cockfighting aficionados will soon be able to engage in this Filipino cultural tradition without fear of police arrest.
This as Gov. Gwen Garcia called on the local members of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to stop conducting raids against cockfighting activities in the LGUs with ordinances passed by their respective councils regulating cockfighting, as provided under Section 447 of the Local Government Code.
During a meeting at the Capitol on Thursday, April 13, CPPO director PCol Rommel Ochave told the governor and the mayors present that PRO 7 chief Brig. Gen. Anthony Aberin had issued an order for them to intensify operations against illegal gambling activities. Col Ochave was reacting to Catmon Mayor Avis Monleon who said that a makeshift cockpit in one of her barangays was raided during the barangay fiesta despite it having a mayor’s permit.
The CPPO chief said it was illegal because Presidential Decree No. 449, or the Cockfighting Law of 1974, specifically orders that such activities be held only in licensed arenas, and only on Sundays, holidays, and local fiestas.
However, Gov. Garcia said that this particular provision of PD 449, which was signed in 1974, has long been repealed by RA 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991. The governor highlighted Section 447, paragraph 3, v of the LGC which empowers the Sangguniang Bayan of LGUs to “authorize and license the establishment, operation, and maintenance of cockpits, and regulate cockfighting and commercial breeding of gamecocks”.
“PD 449 can no longer be used as reason to declare as illegal cockfighting which is authorized by the Sangguniang Bayan,” the governor told Col. Ochave.
Daanbantayan Mayor Sun Shimura, who is also president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) Cebu Chapter, said that holding cockfights solely in licensed arenas could be a burden to the ordinary Cebuano because it would entail additional travel expenses for residents of far-flung barangays.
For instance, he said, he has islet-barangays that quite far from the mainland, such as Carnaza and Malapascua. He said it would be impractical to ask the islanders to travel to the mainland just so they could participate in cockfights during their barangay fiesta.
The governor noted that cockfights in barangays during fiestas are not only a customary tradition nationwide but also a source of income not only for the bettors but also for the local vendors who would peddle food and drinks around the venue.
Col Ochave, in response, have asked the mayors to furnish their individual local chiefs of police a copy of their respective Sanggunian Bayan ordinances pertaining to the regulation and guidelines of cockfighting activities in their areas so that misunderstandings between the LGUs and the police could be avoided.
Also in the attendance were fifth district Board Member Red Duterte; Borbon Mayor Noel Dotillos; Dalaguete Mayor Ronald Allan Cesante; Medellin Mayor Joven Mondigo Jr.; Tabuelan Mayor Raul Gerona; Argao Mayor Allan Sesaldo; Argao Vice Mayor Orvi Ortega; and Cordova Vice Mayor Victor Tago III. The PNP was represented by PCol Roland Bulalacao of the PRO 7, Police Major Luke Fernandez (Regional Legal Service of PRO 7) and PLT Reynaldo Romero of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group. | Ioannes P. Arong