By Nick Giongco
After seeing the Games and Amusements Board (GAB) initiate a move to include the boxing community in the government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP), the cockfighting group also reached out to GAB chairman Baham Mitra, asking that they be granted financial assistance as well.
Mitra was about to make his move but two recent incidents – illegal cockfights (tupada) in Manila and Valenzuela City – left him no choice but to abandon plans of requesting help for gaffers (mananari).
“They were so insistent in getting help because they envy the boxers, who are also licensed like them by the GAB,” said Mitra.
“But because of what President (Rodrigo) Duterte said recently about the illegal cockfights, they have decided to remain quiet,” he said, referring to Malacañang’s directive that those engaged in illegal gambling during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) be excluded from receiving assistance.
Manila mayor Isko Moreno reacted strongly to a tupada held at the North Cemetery wherein barangay officials from the neighboring city of Caloocan served as the organizers about a week ago.
A few days later in Valenzuela City, a separate group attempted to hold another tupada but were caught by authorities.
The fighting cocks were confiscated and slaughtered.
There is a possibility that those who take part in illegal cockfights are GAB-licensed.
“We have warned them that if ever they are caught, we will withdraw their licenses,” said Mitra.
Apart from boxers and their trainers and practitioners of Muay Thai and mix martial arts and their respective trainers, the GAB is also processing the application of a handful of golf pros and a combined 47 teaching pros from the Army and Navy golf clubs.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development is already reviewing the list that the GAB has forwarded.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of Gamefowl Breeders Association (FIGBA) has passed a resolution backing the government’s fight in curbing the spread of the coronavirus by way of the ECQ.
The FIGBA, in a letter dated April 15, has contacted all its members in the industry “to follow the rule of law.”
Mitra added that those found guilty would likely face a ban in all cockpits.