At least 303 cockfighting aficionados in Barangay Mandangoa, Balingasag, Misamis Oriental were arrested for violating standard health protocols over the weekend.
In an interview Monday, Lt. Theofratus Pia, Misamis Oriental Police Provincial Office’s (MORPPO) spokesperson, said the suspects violated an Inter-Agency Task Force’s (IATF) resolution prohibiting the activities that require physical placement of bets and exchanging of cash.
Pia, however, said the same rule allows legally-sanctioned gambling activities such as cockfighting when it is done using technology-based platforms or in cashless transactions.
He said the MORPPO, together with the Balingasag police, raided a cockpit arena on Sunday evening.
While the cockpit arena owned by Lito Solde II is allowed to operate, Pia said IATF guidelines must still be strictly followed.
Prior to the incident, the police, together with the representatives from the local government unit and municipal health office of Balingasag, had already conducted a series of inspections, monitoring, and enforcement of the guidelines which started on March 13.
According to the MORPPO report, the second visit took place on March 20 wherein the same violations were found, and the owner was advised to cease their cockfighting operations.
“Our provincial director already sent a notice for them to follow the guidelines from the IATF so that they can continue their operation,” Pia said, referring to Col. Raniel Valones, MORPPO director.
Maj. Teodoro de Oro, Balingasag chief of police, said they only detained 13 persons, including the owners and the cockpit arena staff. Other violators were not detained, but charges will be filed against them in court.
“They will be facing resistance and disobedience to persons in authority concerning the violation of IATF resolution no. 154,” de Oro said.
The town of Balingasag is still under Alert Level 2 status.
Source: Philippines News Agency