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Cops to keep tight watch vs. illegal cockfighting

October 16, 2020 - Friday 9:10 PM by PNA

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MANILA – The Joint Task Force Covid Shield on Friday ordered police officers to intensify the campaign against illegal cockfighting operations, including the online streaming of these activities.

"We have been receiving reports about online "sabong" (cockfighting) and we would like to remind the public that this kind of operation is illegal. We urge the operators and the players to wait for additional time for the release of the IATF guideline on cockfighting operation before engaging in any activity,” said task force commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, in a press statement.

This came as the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has already approved the operation of licensed cockpits and the conduct of cockfighting activities in areas under the modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).

However, no audience would be allowed in the conduct of cockfighting operations.

Eleazar issued the instruction amid reports of rampant illegal cockfighting in various areas in the country that are being live-streamed for the purpose of e-sabong, or online cockfighting operation.

The cockfighting operation is a multi-billion-peso industry in the Philippines and a source of income for the government through taxes.

All cockfighting operations across the country are prohibited since March 17 this year due to the threat of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). The prohibition still applies despite the relaxation of community quarantine rules in a bid to partially re-open the economy.

Eleazar said the approval of the IATF was based on the recommendation of the cockfighting industry to include their operations in the list of industries that should be allowed to reopen to revive the economy, subject to compliance to the quarantine protocols.

He instructed police commanders to intensify intelligence-gathering and coordination especially with barangay officials following the conduct of recent operations which led to the arrest of violators, including government officials.

“We are also appealing to the public to report to tupada and online sabong operations in order to immediately act on them. These kinds of activities invite mass gathering which is in violation of our quarantine protocols,” he added.

He said they could send any information to the Facebook account of the JTF COVID Shield, COVID Shield, assuring a quick response.

Eleazar said the public could also reach the PNP and the JTF COVID Shield through the following hotlines: PNP Helpline 16677, 0998-849-0013 for Smart users, 0917-538-2495 for Globe users and PNP-Highway Patrol Group Hotline 0926-225-5474.

The PNP and JTF COVID Shield could also be reached via ncovmonitoring@gmail.com and PNP2019nCoVARDopn@gmail.com.

Aside from cockfighting operations, the government also allowed off-track horse race betting operations under GCQ or lower community quarantine status. Christopher Lloyd Caliwan