Proposed laws endanger cockfighting in PH

The founder of Masang Nagmamanok (MANA) wrote NFGB urging the federation to lead a movement to defend cockfighting against proposed laws that put the sport in danger. (Support this call. Join an online petition. Pls click  Let’s defend sabong)

An Open Letter for NFGB

Through Mr. Manny Berbano, Publisher Pit Games magazine,

Sirs;

Isn’t it about time, that somebody organize a movement in defense of Sabong? Then, if so, would the National Federation of Gamefowl Breeders spearhead it?

Recently there have been bills filed in Congress proposing amendment to RA 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act of 1998. Mostly these bills call for the strengthening of the Act and the imposition of more severe penalties.

HB 5849 filed by Congresswoman Bernadette Herrera-Dy of the Bagong Henerasyon Party List seeks to amend the Animal Welfare Act (or Republic Act 8485) and increase penalties for those who have committed acts of cruelty to animals

Guimaras Representative JC Rahman Nava authored House Bill 6049 that deals with welfare obligations, offenses on animals, and likewise seeks to impose heavy penalties on maltreatment and killing of animals, including by fights between animals.

These are only two that we know of so far, probably there might be more. The Herrera-Dy bill seems harmless to cockfighting, but the NAVA bill appears to touch on gray areas. There are at least 6 sections in the NAVA bill with provisions that could affect cockfighting or at least inconvenient game fowl raisers.

Regardless, this generation of bills currently in Congress could actually affect or not cockfighting, the reality is with the current international trend and calls for stronger animal protection measures, cockfighting will always remain threatened.

Unless, we could do something about it, before it is too late.

Agusan del Sur Congressman Rodolfo “Ompong” Plaza filed a bill to declare cockfighting as part of Philippine heritage. That could have done the job but obviously it did not prosper. If cockfighting is declared part of natural heritage, then it could be protected under Article XIV of the Constitution.

At present the only laws legitimizing cockfighting are Presidential Decree 449 or the Cockfighting Law of 1974 and PD 1802, amending, strengthening and incorporating PD 449. But many provisions of these PDs have been superseded or amended, by more current legislations, mainly the Local Government Code, and maybe indirectly by the Animal Welfare Act. Cockfighting is now standing on shaky legal ground.

Moreover, and more alarming, discord and disunity have recently disturbed our ranks.

The opponents with their might and savvy will surely pounce on the situation. Unless, we act before it’s too late. NFGB should lead the fight and movement to defend sabong.

Why NFGB? It is simply, because there is no other as capable.

NFGB is the biggest and foremost federation of breeders and cockers. It is in the position to establish trends in cockfighting. Also, it is well respected that it could persuade other persons, organizations, entities concerned to join the cause.

NFGB also has the organization. It has affiliate GBAs in almost all the regions. It can easily conduct information campaigns through these organizations. Signatures in support of the cause could be garnered during each of the dozens of elimination and semi-final rounds of the Bakbakan in the different provinces and regions. NFGB may also persuade companies conducting seminars and product presentations nationwide to help. Ads maybe created by professionals to be placed with game fowl media such as the sabong magazines and the TV shows at discounted cost or public service. Posters can be placed in all cockpits. NFGB could do many more.

Moreover, NFGB can raise the funds. With its influence, capabilities and organization it is capable of raising the necessary funds.

NFGB indeed can do a lot. There could be no other organization capable of doing so much. It should do something now, not only because of the apparent moves to strengthen the Animal Welfare Act, but also amid talks of a Charter change. How a new Constitution would be framed could determine the fate of cockfighting.

And, it is timely, because of the coming elections. Our representatives will be reaching out to us for votes, in turn, we may also reach out to them for support.

By leading this movement, NFGB will be addressing the aspirations of millions of Filipino sabungeros. It will unite the bayang sabungero.

Today is never too early to act. Tomorrow may be too late. (Support this call. Pls click Let’s defend sabong)

Truly,

Rey Bajenting

Isang masang nagmamanok

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