LEGAZPI CITY--- Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda has called on the Albay Police Provincial Office (APPO) to immediately put a stop to the unabated illegal cockfighting activities in far-flung villages of the province as they might cause the spread of coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Salceda said that all the elements of coronavirus disease transmission were traced among cockfighting aficionados in Mindanao, wherein 11 of the 12 deaths due to Covid-19 in Region XI were associated with a cockfight derby last March.
As of May 18, Bicol region has 19 suspects and 8 probable cases of Covid-19. Out of the 19 suspects, 16 are Albay residents, while three others are from Camarines Norte.
While for probable cases, six are from Albay, and two from Camarines Sur.
These suspect and probable cases are awaiting their test results. At least five persons had died due to Covid-19 in Bicol out of 67 positive cases.
Salceda expressed fear that these cases might increase if the illegal cockfighting activities in the province are not stopped.
He said that he has pictures showing “tupadas” taking place in the upland villages of Anoling, Anislag, Maopi, San Rafael and Canarom in Daraga town.
“Halos lahat ng Covid sa buong Mindanao nagsimula sa sabong. At bawal po yan sa quarantine. Marami ako pictures ng cockfighting sa Anoling, Anislag, Maopi, San Rafael and Canarom,” Salceda said.
He said that cockfights or “tupadas” while the province is under general community quarantine is illegal and could cause the spread of Covid-19.
“Bukas magpapaikot ako ng tao. Pag may tupada sa barangay - PNP ang irereport sa IATF,” Salceda said.
Though, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Bicol is relentlessly going after “tupada,” cockfight aficionados continue doing the illegal activities amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Police Captain Dexter Panganiban, PNP Albay spokesman, said that in Daraga town, cops apprehended cockfight aficionados Ulysses M. Añonuevo, Norberto E. Neptuno, Tedy Li. Millena, Rean M. Loreno, and Rolly M. Millena on Tuesday, May 19 at 2:30 PM at Barangay Matnog, Daraga for violation of Presidential Decree (PD) 1602 or the Illegal Gambling Law.
“They were caught in the act of engaging in illegal cockfighting activity while their companions were able to evade arrest,” Panganiban said.
Based on PNP records, more than 500 persons across the region involved in illegal gambling activities were apprehended, since the implementation of enhanced community quarantine.
Police Major Malu Calubaquib, PNP Bicol spokesperson, said that out of 149 police operations conducted from Mar. 17 to Apr. 13, some 501 persons were arrested for violation of the PD 1602.
Those caught were involved in cockfighting, bettors and players of different illegal games such card games, plastic tiles or dice games.
Albay province has the highest cases with 220 arrested followed by: Sorsogon,106; Camarines Norte, 79; Masbate, 62; Naga City, 19; and Catanduanes, 10.
Calubaquib said that out of the total of 501 cases, 120 violators were already charged in court.