By John Noel E. Herrera
There will be no cockfighting during the feast of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria (Our Lady of Candles) in Jaro, Iloilo City after the Iloilo City Council denied the resolution of no objections (RONO) requested by the Iloilo Sportsmen Inc. for the planned “Candelaria” 7-Cock International Derby on Jan 30 to Feb 2, 2023.
Iloilo Sportsmen Inc. (ISI) supposedly needs to secure the RONO from the City Council before Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas could grant them a permit to operate.
In their letter of request, ISI said the annual Ilonggo cockfighting tradition, which is supposedly in its 57th year, “will surely be instrumental in reviving the economy of Iloilo City as its host city.”
But in a special session on Friday, Jan 27, 2023, the City Council denied ISI’s request, citing Presidential Decree 449 or the Cockfighting Law of 1974, which stated that cockfighting should not be allowed during the voters’ registration period, which will end on Jan 31, 2023.
Part of Section 5d of PD 449 stated that “no cockfighting shall be held on December 30 (Rizal Day), June 12 (Philippine Independence Day), November 30 (National Heroes Day), Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Election or Referendum Day and during Registration Days for such election or referendum.”
The City Council added that cockfighting is in no way representing nor has the essence of why the public is celebrating the Jaro fiesta, as it is a religious celebration that shows people’s faith and devotion to Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria.
Councilor Romel Duron, chairman of the Committee on Games and Amusement, who presented ISI’s request in the session, said that he respects the decision of the council.
“I was caught by surprise lang nga ti hindi sila ya mag-approve. Maybe nag-isturya sila siguro, pero ti ila man na ya, and that’s the collective decision and we have to honor it, whatever it is,” Duron said.
But Duron emphasized that the event could have also brought more opportunities, knowing that many visitors would be participating in the said derby.
“It is unfortunate lang, kay ti may mga bisita kita diri. Ang akon ya gina-consider ang mga bisita nga ari na diri. Ti what will happen kay bal-an mo directly or indirectly may mga benefit man kita tani. Ang transportation, damo masakay sa taxis, ang hotel ta puno tungod sang bisita ta as damo na naga-participate sa Candelaria nga bulang,” he said.
This is also the first time that there will be no cockfighting event during the celebration of the Jaro fiesta.