In the Philippines, online cockfighting is close to being a legalized and regulated activity. While many are in favor of the option, there are of course, those who are opposed. While legislators work on ways to bring the option to the forefront of online gambling, the Catholic Church has now spoken out against the fights.
Ruperto Santos, the Bishop of Balanga, spoke this week against cockfighting. The activity is known locally as e-sabong and the bishop pointed out that what is needed in the time of COVID-19 is not vices and the proliferation of gambling, but moral ascendancy and spiritual recovery.
The bishop feels the activity will be a source of problems for the community and that it will divide families. If the bishop had his way, he would see laws enacted that would serve the people and save the country, not due to money or to satisfy and addiction.
A cockpit is being constructed in the Bataan province, where the bishop lives. He says the cockpit is a disgrace and it is disappointing to know that there are people planning to create this during the pandemic.
In the past, the Catholic church had sway when it came to decision making in the country. However, now leaders are not afraid to go against the church. President Rodrigo Duterte has went against the church many times and still remains popular among the country’s citizens.
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means has created a bill that will provide supervision for the industry. The government will tax cockfighting at 5%, getting a piece of the action. The government seems to understand that cockfighting will happen whether it is regulated or not. At least with regulation, the country can earn money that can be used to help citizens.
Arrests have been taking place over the past few months across the Philippines regarding illegal cockfighting. The most recent case came from Davao, there 10 people were arrested.