Mayor Duterte vows support for ‘e-Sabong’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 April) – Almost a year after cockfighting was banned in Davao City, Mayor Sara Duterte pledged support to the proposed ordinance on “e-Sabong” or online cockfighting pending before the City Council, as the local government needs to look for other sources of revenues amid the economic havoc wreaked by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During her live program over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) Monday, Duterte said that the city government needed to look for other means to prop up its income after it decided to reduce local fees and charges to help local businesses tide the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

She noted that online cockfighting could potentially generate huge income, which could boost the revenues earned by the city.

“We need to look for money from other sources because we can no longer rely on our regular sources like the local taxes, especially now that businesses are going through difficult times,” the mayor stressed.

Late last year, the House of Representatives approved a proposed measure that would tax e-Sabong, paving the way for the Senate’s action on the measure, reported.

Under the existing Cockfighting Law of 1974, “cockfighting shall be allowed only in licensed cockpits during Sundays and legal holidays and during local fiestas for not more than three days,” the outfit said in another report.

Duterte noted that e-Sabong will not breach the prohibition on mass gathering and violate the distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The mayor said that she thought of approving the proposed measure at the City Council because local authorities keep on arresting individuals in the communities for continuously staging illegal cockfights despite the prohibition.

“We’re seeing a possibility of (earning a) revenue from e-Sabong while still being able to meet the need of the bettors to play the game safely in the confines of their cell phones or laptops,” she said.

“Through this, we can follow the COVID-19 protocols because there are only a few of them in the venue because their audience is online. We can resolve many things once we get this ordinance ready,” she added.

Duterte banned cockfighting in the city in April 2020 after several individuals got infected with COVID-19 after attending the six-cock derby for the “Araw ng Davao” celebration at the New Davao Matina Gallera in March, making it the “Ground Zero” for the outbreak in Mindanao.

As of April 11, the Department of Health (DOH)-Davao Region reported 31 new cases, bringing the total to 22,888, with 972 active, 20,361 recoveries and 955 deaths in the region.

Out of the total, Davao City, which reported the highest COVID-19 cases in Mindanao, tallied 14,041 cases, with 404 active, 12,956 recoveries and 681 deaths. Davao de Oro reported 1,423 cases, Davao del Norte with 3,728, Davao del Sur with 1,494, Davao Occidental with 222 and Davao Oriental with 1,380. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)