SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: A sabungero’s tale: Vice and virus (2)

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 21 April) – Several cities and provinces across the country had canceled their festivals and other public events as early as January and February to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The city government of Davao on the other hand allowed the holding of a 6-cock derby that dangled a P26-million purse as one of the activities of the annual Araw ng Dabaw celebration.

The move was inconsistent with the local government’s decision to cancel other Araw ng Dabaw activities that would attract crowds. Did it simply overlook the fact that a derby, or even an ordinary cockfight, is a mass gathering, too? Or were the sponsors so influential there was no way the local officials would deny them a permit?

It never occurred to them that the prize amount would easily draw big-time sabungeros from as far as Manila and Luzon and even abroad. Manila, in particular, with its dense living conditions, easily becomes a hot spot for any contagion. This can be deduced from the geographic distribution of statistics relating to the pandemic.

Whatever the reason is for the error of judgment, hindsight tells us that the derby was a disaster waiting to happen.

Reports gathered by MindaNews have uncovered that certain individuals in different Mindanao regions who tested positive of the virus attended the derby. However, many of those who went there have refused to come out. They could be anybody’s kith or kin. In other words, there are walking time bombs out there who can only be defused if they submit themselves to medical protocols.

How many of these “time bombs” came from the Visayas, Luzon and Manila? How many of them approached health authorities for testing and monitoring after knowing – if they knew at all – that they possibly contracted the disease?

It’s impossible to identify the sabungeros who went to the derby not as entrants but as mere bettors. The least that health officials can do is ask the sponsors to provide the registration containing the names, addresses and contact numbers of the entrants. They have the names of these people for sure.

Now, assume there were at least 200 entries to the derby. Assume further that each entrant brought at least three other persons with him (cock handler, gaffer and kristo or bet-taker), that means 600 souls to trace. If many of those from Mindanao brought along their drivers, not to mention hangers-on, then the task is harder than cleaning the mythical Aegean stables.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at [email protected])