Senator Cynthia Villar has congratulated the 8th International Game Fowl Festival’s organizers who have kept the spirit of the game fowl industry alive despite the coronavirus pandemic.
“This opening of the game fowl industry doors this year hopes to bring together leading game fowl breeders, pigeon raisers, exotic animal hobbyists, veterinary and nutrition suppliers, game fowl suppliers, pigeon suppliers, pigeon fanciers, incubators, feed manufacturers, and related products and services catering to game fowl, pigeon raising and exotic animals,” said Villar in a message read by her daughter Deputy Speaker Camille Villar.
“You have also included a reptile expo which will showcase reptiles and other exotic animals,” added the chairperson of the Senate agriculture committee who was Guest Speaker of the three-day event that started February 25 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.
But as we look forward to a better year ahead, the senator also cited the need to always balance the vaccination program to protect people from COVID-19 and to give them opportunity to have a decent job to support their family.
The senator acknowledged that the game fowl sector was hit hard by the pandemic because of the limited movements and restrictions brought by the community quarantines.
She said the game fowl industry has reported huge losses brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The sales of “ready-to-fight” game fowls in 2020, which dropped due to limited movements and restrictions brought by the community quarantines, was huge amounting to billions of pesos. This included a sales drop of 50 percent to the P30-billion feeds industry and a loss of around P15 billion to the veterinary products sector,” related the senator.
She also cited the closure of over 3,000 cockpits nationwide resulting to the unemployment of hundreds of thousands of cockpit employees as well as cockpit vendors, farmhands, and employees of companies engaged in the manufacture and sale of feeds, veterinary supplies, farm equipment, and others which comprise the industry’s supply chain.
As the quarantine restriction eases, Villar said the cockpit arenas hope to reopen and contribute to the revival of the economy.
She emphasized that the guidelines issued by the IATF or Inter Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases last December 14, 2021 prevented the opening of cockfighting under levels 4, 3 and 2. The cockpit was classified high-risk for transmission and was not allowed to operate.
Due to this, Villar said innovation has taken over and “cockfighting is now found online via mobile or desktop.”
“In fact, enthusiasts are now into e-sabong, while the operators keep innovating. There are licensed sites, and bettors can watch the game via live-stream,” related Villar.
To date, she said the challenge for the e-sabong is to find a legal platform due to the ongoing controversy surrounding this sport, as recently investigated in the senate.