A year after the Davao derby, city gov’t wants to allow cockfighting online | Inquirer News
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A year after the Davao derby, city gov’t wants to allow cockfighting online

DAVAO CITY –– More than a year after the derby that triggered a cluster of COVID-19 infections here, the city government is planning to encourage online cockfighting to help recover the revenues that the city lost due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local businesses.

Mayor Sara Duterte confirmed that she was the one who endorsed the proposal to Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang, who presented the proposed ordinance to the city council as the city government was looking for new sources of funds.

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“There are other sources (of revenues) that we cannot rely upon anymore, especially because businesses are finding difficulty, and we have reduced local taxes and fees,” the mayor said.

She admitted the huge impact of the pandemic on the city government coffers, but said it would not yet pull the economy down to the bottom.

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She said she thought of online cockfighting as a possible source of new revenues because people continued these illegal activities even with the risk of getting arrested.

“Cockfighting usually leads people to violate social distancing because people gather around indiscriminately just so they can bet on their favorite roosters,” she said. “Once these activities are online, participants can do it right on their cell phones or their laptops.”

Only those directly involved in handling the physical cockfight would be allowed in the arena to minimize the threat of COVID-19 infection and to ensure that minimum health standards are enforced, she said.

This came more than a year after the March 6-12 cockfighting derby at the New Davao Matina Gallera here last year, where the first case of COVID-19 transmission in the city was traced and led to several deaths and cluster of cases in other areas of Mindanao.

Some health practitioners in Davao had questioned why the event, which was part of the celebration of the city’s founding anniversary, was allowed to push through despite an earlier order from the mayor to cancel all crowd-drawing events.

Attended by cockfighting aficionados from all parts of the country, the derby that offered a pot of P26 million was called off only at its culmination stage when the virus had already started its spread.

On March 14, the Department of Interior and Local Government ordered all local governments to suspend all cockfighting nationwide.

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Aside from online cockfighting, the mayor said she also wanted to come up with a similar idea that would allow liquor to be sold without increasing the risk of COVID-19 spread.

“This is one (of the issues) that we are looking at, like how we can cater to those wanting to buy liquor without exposing themselves to the danger of getting infected with the virus,” the mayor said over the city government-run Davao City Disaster Radio on Monday.

“We are looking at how we can balance this,” she added, stressing that people could still drink, and business could go on without exposing people to the possibility of contracting the virus.

The city has imposed a 24-hour liquor ban since the start of last year’s lockdown. It lifted the ban in September 2020 after the quarantine was removed.

The city government imposed it again after contact tracing of infected persons showed that unbridled drinking sessions had contributed to the rise in the number of cases.

On Sunday, the national government announced that the city would still be under the general community quarantine until the end of the month.

LZB

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TAGS: Business, City government, coronavirus disease, COVID-19, Davao City, derby, online cockfighting, pandemic, Philippine news updates, Regions, Revenues
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