The Benguet provincial board has approved an ordinance setting the rules and regulation of cockfighting in Sablan.
Municipal Ordinance 22-13 prescribes the policies, rules, and regulations on the operation and maintenance of the cockpit arena and the conduct of cockfights to protect the interest of cockfight enthusiasts and the public.
The ordinance stated only Filipino citizens or Filipino-owned corporations are allowed to have the franchise for the ownership of a cockpit arena.
Only one cockpit per one hundred thousand population shall also be allowed, while the cockpit site must not be within a minimum radius of 100 meters from existing residential and commercial buildings, and 300 meters from hospitals, school buildings, churches, and other public offices.
Interested applicants must also get a franchise granted by the Sablan municipal council either through an ordinance or a resolution. Applicants will not be given business permit or mayor’s permit without or with an expired franchise.
The franchise shall be granted with a definite term that ranges from five to 15 years, depending on the municipal council, and renewal must be within one year before expiration.
A special permit for the holding of special cockfights may also be granted provided application is filed with the SB, 30 days prior to the event. Any application not acted upon by the town council within 30 days shall be automatically approved, and will be given special permit by the mayor.
The operating hours of cockpit arenas should be from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. only while minors below 18 years old will also not be allowed inside the cockpit arena.
“No other form of gambling shall be allowed within the cockpit premises but purely cockfighting. It shall be the responsibility of the operator/franchisee to ensure that this rule is strictly observed and complied with,” the measure stated.
All personnel of the cockfighting pit including gaffers, referees, bet takers, promoters, and other workers shall secure a license, renewable every year from the mayor’s office. Only registered personnel shall officiate the cockfighting games.
Cockfights shall not be held outside of the licensed cockpit.
No cockfighting activities shall be held on Dec. 30 (Rizal Day), June 12 (Philippine Independence Day), Nov. 30 (Bonifacio Day), Holy Thursday, Good Friday, during election or referendum day, and registration days for the elections.
Regular cockfights shall be set or held on Sundays while special cockfights shall be limited only to armed cockfights, which shall be held for not more than three days, including Sundays. The special cockfight shall also be issued a special permit from the mayor and authorized by the SB.
There will also be a 30 percent fee to be collected from the gross sales of the admission fees. The amount collected will be shared by the municipality and the barangay concerned, with a 70-30 percent sharing, respectively.
Any person who shall operate any cockfights without securing the necessary permits under the ordinance will be penalized with P2,500 fine or imprisonment of six months or both upon the discretion of the court. The ordinance underwent the required public hearing last May 30 at the municipal gymnasium. – Ofelia C. Empian