The City Council of Puerto Princesa has required all the 66 barangays to set the date of their fiesta celebration in a move to regulate illegal cockfighting or “tupada,” while they urged barangays to hold cockfighting activities inside a licensed cockpit.
The feast day that the barangay has to fix a definite date should only be one day, and the barangays are required to submit the same to the City Council in a form of a barangay resolution.
Presidential Decree No. 449, also known as Cockfighting Law of 1974 issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos, has allowed the holding of cockfighting during Sundays, holidays and local fiesta.
City Councilor Nesario G. Awat, who is also the chairman of the Sanggunian’s Committee on Legal Matters, said that the law is clear that cockfighting should be held inside a licensed cockpit arena.
“Ang pagpapasabong ay dapat nasa licensed cockpit lang,” Awat said.
City Councilor Herbert Dilig said that the barangays are holding 2-3-day fiesta celebrations in order to justify the holding of cockfighting activities.
“Sa ngayon ay dalawa o tatlong araw ang pista para mapahaba ang sabong. Sa Syudad ng Puerto Princesa ay isa lang ang cockpit. Lumalabas na ang mga sabong sa piyesta ay bawal eh,” he said.
Punong Barangay Juvelyl Bunda of Barangay Tagabinet said that holding fiesta cockfights in the cockpit arena located in San Carlos, Barangay Bacungan is not practical for their interior barangay and for the small-time cockfight aficionado.
“Ang laki ng singil nila (cockpit) para sa gate, at hindi na yan kaya ng maliliit na sabungero. Ang nangyayari sa amin ay doon na sila nagsasabong sa gubat. Nagsasabi lang po ako ng totoo kasi tinatanong ko sila, ang sabi nila ay doon sila nagsasabong sa gubat,” Bundal said.
She explained that cockfighting activities in their barangay has helped a lot in shouldering the expenses for their fiesta.
Cockfighting, locally termed “sabong,” is a popular pastime in the country, where both illegal and legal cockfights occur. Legal cockfights are held in cockpits every week, while illegal ones, called tupada or tigbakay, are held in secluded cockpits where authorities cannot raid them.
Cockfighting was already flourished even in pre-colonial Philippines, as recorded by Antonio Figafetta, chronicler of Ferdinand Magellan’s voyage that reached the country in 1521.
On March 14, 2020, the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) announced that cockfighting is temporarily banned in the country due to the prohibition of mass gathering due to coronavirus disease (Covid)-19.