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Return of bet takers in licensed cockpits urged

Ilocos Norte’s provincial board on Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution urging local government units to restore the employment of bet takers or ‘kristos’ in licensed cockpits. In sponsoring the resolution, provincial board member Franklin Dante Respicio said more than 200 bet-takers in the province’s 21 towns and two cities have lost their livelihood when the oral placing of bets was replaced by betting machines due to the coronavirus disease 2019. Respicio said as businesses went back to normal operations, however, the affected ‘kristos” also have the “right to earn for a decent living and to provide subsistence for their families.’ Ilocos Norte has seven accredited cockpits, four of which are using betting machines. These are located in Laoag City, and in the towns of Badoc, Pasuquin, and Dingras. The provincial board recommended that under the grant of a franchise to cockpit operators, bet takers should be allowed to take turns in scheduled cockfights. In February last year, Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc allowed the operation of licensed cockpits in the province, subject to minimum public health standards. The three-page Executive Order 175-22 signed by the governor states that cockfighting will only be allowed in a licensed cockpit per municipality at 50 percent venue capacity and exclusive for fully-vaccinated Ilocos Norte residents who are 18 years and older. Manotoc said “cashless betting and use of technology-based platforms shall also be in place and there shall be no drinking of intoxicating beverages and live streaming” while inside the ring. As to the schedule of operation, cockpits are only allowed one cockfighting day per week from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. But before participants can enter the cockpit arena, a health desk must also be installed at the main entrance to ensure that all entrants have vaccination cards and pass through thermal scanning. The provincial government disallowed cockfighting, a popular recreation and entertainment among Ilocanos when the pandemic began, as it is considered a superspreader event.

Source: Philippines News Agency