Cockfighting has been temporarily banned in the city in relation to the continuing voter’s registration activity of the Commission on Elections (COMELEC).
The suspension is effective until September 30, provincial COMELEC spokesperson Jomel Ordas said on Friday.
He said they started to impose the ban on August 1 as mandated under Presidential Decree (PD) 449 or the Cockfighting Law of 1974.
Ordas said cockfighting or “sabong”, a blood sport between two gamecocks, is among the enumerated activities that are banned during the voter’s registration period.
He said the prohibition is part of a memorandum issued by the city government in support of the COMELEC’s activity since it does not have the power to issue such.
“Sa cockfighting law, ang revocation ng permits ng pasabong during voter registration ay doon sa memo na ibinaba ng city nakasaad. Enumerated ang mga occasions kung kailan bawal ang pasabong per Section 5(d) of PD 449,” Ordas said.
Ordas said Section 4 of PD 1802 which created the Philippine Gamefowl Commission, states that the authority to cancel issued cockfighting permits lies in the city or municipal governments.
“Ang COMELEC ay walang authority to cancel the permits dahil hindi tayo ang implementing agency dyan. Usually, ang mga prohibitions na ipinatutupad ng COMELEC ay naka-base sa Omnibus Election Code. Ang pagtanggap natin sa memo na ito ng city ay support sa isinasagawa natin na voter registration,” he said.
Ordas said the cancellation of cockfighting permits would do their voter registration campaign activity good as “deactivated voters can make time to reactivate their status”.
He cited that based on their records, around 70,000 in Palawan are due to be removed from their voter’s registration list because of failure to vote in the past two consecutive elections.
“Maganda nga ito para mas magkaroon ng time ang mga kababayan natin na magpa-rehistro lalo pa at maiksi lang ang registration period natin ngayon para sa May 11, 2020, Sangguniang Kabataan (SK) at Barangay elections. Siguro dapat din malaman ng mga kababayan natin na marami tayong dine-activate na mga botante ngayon dahil hindi sila nakapagboto sa dalawang magkasunod na regular election, kaya malaking tulong din itong cancellation ng cockfighting permits para maasikaso ng mga tao ang mga kanilang status sa COMELEC, kung deactivated sila ay maaayos nila o kung hindi pa sila botante ay makapa-rehistro sila,” Ordas said.
In a separate interview, city administrator Atty. Arnel Pedrosa said that the memorandum was issued on August 19 to support the ongoing voter’s registration for the barangay and SK elections next year.
The memorandum directed the revocation and cancellation of all cockfighting permits, especially if activities fall on any of the dates before September 30.
Pedrosa said that all special permit issued to cockfighting aactivities will be surrendered to the city government and will reschedule from October 1 onwards.
“Base ‘yan sa batas na kung saan kapag araw ng registration ay bawal ang mga sabong kaya nagbaba tayo ng memorandum bilang suporta doon sa ginagawa ng COMELEC,” Pedrosa said.
Meanwhile, Pedrosa warned that all persons who will be caught violating the ban will be punished according to the law.
“Lahat ng mahuhuli na lumalabag dito ay maaring arestuhin ng PNP, kaya nananawagan tayo sa lahat ng tumatangkilik sa sabong na sumunod nalang sa mga ipinapatyupad natin,” he said.