Ilocos Norte mulls amendment to cockfight ordinance


LAOAG CITY — The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) or Provincial Board of Ilocos Norte wants to introduce new amendments to the ordinance titled “An act regulating cockfighting operations in the province of Ilocos Norte” institutionalizing the issuance of cockpit franchise here.

Cockfighting is a popular sports tradition among Filipinos, especially in rural areas.

SP Member Vicentito Lazo, chairperson of the committee on games and amusement, said there had been proliferation of cockfighting events in various towns of Ilocos Norte but some are considered illegal based on the rules and guidelines specified under Presidential Decree 449 or the cockfighting law of the Philippines.

Some of the franchise applications granted by the Provincial Board were also found deficient, prompting the SP to disapprove several applications for failure of the management to comply with the basic requirements of the law.

Under the law, cockfighting should only be held in a license cockpit arena with a valid franchise. It states further that a duly-licensed cockpit arena should not be located near commercial establishments, residences and houses of worship.

In order to avoid similar violations in the future, the SP’s committee on laws, jointly with the committee on games and amusement conducted a public hearing on Thursday afternoon, where cockpit franchise holders were also urged to pay their taxes due the national government.

As cockpit operates with employees too, the SP also plans to require cockpit franchise applicants to give specific benefits due them.

“If you earn millions in cockfight, why don’t you share blessings to the government, and employees too,” Provincial Board member Da Vinci Crisostomo told franchise applicants who attended the hearing.

Board member Donald Nicolas, a cockfighting aficionado himself, told the cockpit owners and franchise applicants: “We are just exercising our review power. This is not about cockfighting aficionados it’s all about the franchise.”

Cockpit franchise holders and applicants expressed their cooperation with the local government once the amendments to the ordinance are finalized. (photo by Jun Elias/NPN)