For nearly seven months, the operations of all cockpits were temporarily suspended and cockfighting is prohibited.
All cockfighting aficionados mourn for the loss of their hobbies and, for some, their source of income.
On the other hand, some housewives and children are secretly happy about it. It means quality time for them.
Last October, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has allowed cockfighting in areas under modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) and Governor Estevan Evan Contreras issued Executive Order No. 20-G on October 22.
Moreover, only 30 percent of the sitting capacity of the cockpit is allowed to be open to the public and should follow the health protocols set by IATF.
But did you know that during the Japanese Occupation in the province, cockfighting continued?
Recently, I bought this 1978 issue of the Barallila, the Central Bank Money Museum Quarterly.
On June 9, 1978, Central Bank Deputy Governor Benito Legarda Jr, Guy Davis, Conrado Ciriaco, and Antonio del Mundo interviewed Cornelio Villareal Sr, the former House Speaker and War Governor of Capiz about the Guerilla Emergency Notes.
If the Japanese fiat notes are called by the Filipinos Mickey Mouse Money, people call the Capiz Emergency Notes as Cone Money – the moniker for his nickname Cone.
“And so they called that Cone money, and even in cockpits when there are betting, they said, ‘Is your money Cone?’ Okay quince pesos, viente, viente, okay iyan. But when the denomination was PNB (Philippine National Bank), they will not bet with you,” Villareal told the interviewers.
This proves that cockfighting even at the height of the Japanese Occupation continued.
Cockfighting is indeed a part of the Filipino culture that pre-dates the arrival of the Europeans on our shores.
Only COVID-19 systematically stopped it but in some areas, there are illegal tupadas. Lieutenant Christian Bolok was killed by a rooster during a raid on an illegal cockfight in the province of Northern Samar.
Aside from the cockfighting aficionados who praise high heavens, there are thousands of Capisnons families largely dependent on cockpit operations.
Hence, resuming cockfighting gives them a glimpse of hope on their tables.*