The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has directed all local government units to ensure that the resumption of cockpit operations and the return of traditional “sabong” (cockfighting) in areas under Alert Level 2 or lower would not be super spreader events of COVID-19 and its highly transmissible Omicron variant.
Governors, mayors, and village chiefs must exercise sound judgment, undertake necessary actions, and ensure compliance with health and safety protocols in the management of cockpits and cockfighting activities, according to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.
“Even if we are already under Level 2 or 1, there should be discipline and alertness in cockfighting operations. It is not yet time to be complacent as the Omicron threat is still high,” Año said.
DILG Memorandum Circular 2022-003 allows the operations of cockpits and traditional cockfighting under Alert Level 2 or lower, provided there is no objection from the concerned LGU and health protocols are strictly observed.
The maximum venue capacity for indoor gatherings is 50 percent – all fully vaccinated – as ordered by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging and Infectious Diseases.
Workers and employees of the establishments should also be fully vaccinated.
Only technology-based platforms and cashless betting are allowed to prevent the physical exchange of cash anywhere in the cockpit.
Minimum public health standards include proper wearing of masks, strict enforcement of “no mask, no entry” policy, physical distancing of at least one meter, and availability of alcohol/hand sanitizer/disinfecting materials for hand hygiene of patrons, employees, and visitors.
“We are not yet out of the woods and we do not encourage mass gatherings, which could be super spreader events. Make sure you exercise extra caution before entering a cockpit or participating in cockfighting activities,” Año said.
Local police officers shall assist in the monitoring and inspection of cockpit arenas.
He warned that failure to comply with the guidelines would result in the automatic closure of the cockpits while concerned officials and employees would be dealt with under the law.