All about gamefowl breeding and
the legal sport of cockfighting in the Philippines
The Philippines is an agricultural country with a land area of 30 million hectares, more than 47% of which is agricultural land. Thus, of the more than 100 Million plus Filipinos here and abroad--where 60 Million Filipinos have social media accounts--a vast majority of Filipinos work or had originated from families who formerly worked in the agricultural sector and agri-business sector which includes the booming gamefowl industry.
1. In the Philippines, the gamefowl breeding industry employs several millions of Filipinos from professionals, businessmen, farmers, retired employees, entrepreneurs, and ordinary families in the country sides. It is the National Sport of the country as it was already a cultural past time and historical heritage passed on through various generations even before the Spaniards set foot on Philippine soil in March 16, 1521. The Philippine gamefowl industry is worth 50 Billion pesos today, employs several millions of Filipinos, with cockpits or game arenas formally established in 75% of the towns and cities of the Philippines. The gamefowl feed industry alone is worth more than P15 Billion with more than P3 Billion for veterinary products, vitamins, vaccines & various supplements.
2. The gamefowl industry in the Philippines is regulated and overseen by the Games & Amusement Board (GAB), an agency under the Office of the President that “regulates and supervises professional sports and allied activities to combat and prevent the existence and proliferation of illegal bookie joints and other forms of organized illegal gambling connected with all play-for-pay sports and amusement games.”
3. The growth in the number of gamefowl enthusiasts across the country was giving one of the biggest feed and veterinary product manufacturers a volume of demand its current production muscle could not deliver. In 2008 the number of gamefowl, which include the breeding materials, chicks, cockerels, pullets and roosters for pit action nationwide, was estimated to have reached 40 million. The number rose to 44 million today. “We are the center of gamefowl breeding cockfighting in the world with many international caliber derbies held in the Philippines, like the World Slashers Cup and the Pitmaster Cup, among others. “Outside of the Philippines, of course, there is the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico and several others like Indonesia, Malaysia, and others. But cockfighting is in no other country that big.” About 75 percent of municipalities across the country have cockpits, he added. A municipality can operate one cockpit for every 150,000 people of its population. If a town has 300,000 people, it can operate two.
4. The mounting volume of eggs in incubators denotes a climb not only in the number of chickens but also in the number of breeders, an owner of a hatchery in Los Baños, Laguna, explained. “I can see the industry is getting bigger,” said an incubator supplier who is an incubation technology specialist and also manufactures incubators. “More breeders are coming in.” Currently, this supplier incubates about 40,000 eggs from breeders across Laguna alone. The demand for new incubators and demand for repairs are rising, which is suggestive of industry growth, he noted. In fact, the production capacities and number of players in the gamefowl feed mill and vitamins supplements industry have been increasing at a very fast rate. The muscle of one of the major players in the gamefowl feed and medicine subsector may not even meet the current demand as a result of the growing number of enthusiasts nationwide encouraged by attractive derby prizes that now reach from P60 Million to P80 Million pesos for bigtime competitions!
5. Currently, breeders and cockfighters in the country coalesce around two big umbrella organizations. We have two major associations, according to the GAB Chairman. He cited the Federation of Gamefowl Breeders Association (Figba) headed by Ricoy Palmares and the Digmaan, which is headed by Wilson Ong.The Figba holds the “Bakbakan,” a prestigious national annual stag derby. Multitime cock derby champions have said they find the Bakbakan” title so close to Ong’s “Digmaan”. The latter is also a national annual stag derby that is younger than Figba’s.
6. Industry drivers. The main drivers of the gamefowl industry growth are competition, the televised gamefowl programs, gamefowl magazines, internet, and social media.
If the economy is good, the industry is strong. Enthusiasts would have more power to purchase gamefowl, and the products and services they need.
The growing competition among players in the industry is seen to result in higher quality of products and services.
Five years from now the population of gamefowl in the country may rise to a total of 50 million and even higher.
The international derbies World Slasher Cup, NCA and Pit Masters Cup may have one or more competitor rivals. Mindanao had already secured permit to promote an international derby. Visayas might take a similar initiative.
Recently, GAB conducted trainings, dubbed as Sabong Standardization Seminars, for upgrading the skills and licensing of a gaffer, sentenciador and manggagamot in Palawan, in cooperation with cockpit owners and the two big local associations in the province.
The board issued a P1,020 two-year license to the participants, he noted. GAB saw standardization of gaffing, officiating and post-battle care would upgrade these occupations and is good for the industry as a whole as this started with 149 new licensees.
The Philippines also hosts the annual International Gamefowl Festival, which was held in January at the SMX Mall of Asia, and its rival World Gamefowl Expo, held in the same month at the World Trade Center. More gamefowl trade exhibits and derby competitions are now being held all over the country.
7. The talent, dedication, and passion of Filipinos in gamefowl breeding and fighting is very pronounced such that you will find Pinoys in the United States, and other parts of the ASEAN teaching and spreading their gamefowl fighting craft and breeding knowhow to other peoples of the World.
Thus, the Philippine gamefowl and breeding industry is as legitimate and as legal as any industry that generates employment as it remains a very popular national and international sport that is regulated by the government through GAB and the Bureau of Animal Industry in our country.
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