It is currently worth P50 billion with the game fowl feed market alone valued at P15 billion. The veterinary products for game fowls such as medicine and vitamins and minerals are valued at P2 billion.
Games and Amusements Board (GAB) Chairman Abraham Khalil Mitra noted that the industry covers anything related to game fowl, including feeds, equipment and cockpit operations.
Local government units have a share on the industry’s revenue as feed companies pay 35 percent corporate income tax.
The industry employs thousands of people to fill roles such as sentenciador, gaffer, kristo, informal cock doctors and cockpit vendors. Game fowl farm breeders need to employ one caretaker for every 100 roosters.
One renowned gaffer related that they (gaffers) can earn at least P100,000 a month if they do their job in a professional manner. “It takes a good reputation for the boss to trust you,” he said.
Each gaffer gets P1,000 per rooster as well as a share on the winning prize.
With cockfighting barred in the United States, many American breeders also partner with Filipino breeders to raise game fowls in the Philippines.
The number of game fowls, breeding materials, chicks, cockerels, pullets and roosters for pit action nationwide was estimated to have reached 44 million.
“We are the center of cockfighting in the world,” Mitra said.
Philippines is one of the cockfight capitals in the world with major local hubs in Manila, Bacolod, Cebu, and Davao.
At least one association hosts cockfights in different arenas in each province in the country.
Gamblers and Breeders
Mitra, a cockfight enthusiast himself, admitted that the sport is both a sport and a gambling activity.
“There are two kinds of cocker. One is a gambler, the other is a breeder. But, I think, the breeders outnumber the gamblers,” he said.
Members of the media have a big role in the growth of the industry as they cover major cockfighting events. New aficionados are coming into the picture, injecting fresh blood in the industry.
More competitions also contribute to the growth of the industry as the media people race to cover them to gain more readers, listeners or viewers.
Legality of the Sport
Regarding the legality of the sport, Mitra said that the moves to illegalize the sport would not succeed. “The game fowl industry is a very strong industry. There are cockpits in almost all of the municipalities and cities,” he said.
According to the law, one cockpit can be built for every 150,000 people living in a city or municipality.
“We feel that a chicken has a better chance in the ring with a knife compared to in the kitchen without a knife and a housewife with a big knife,” Mitra said. “That’s how we look at it. So, animal rights, go somewhere else.”
GAB has conducted trainings for gaffers, sentenciadors, and cock doctors in Palawan with the help of cockpit owners and local associations of the province. The training is called Sabong Standardization Seminar.
The participants will be issued a license good for two years for P1,020. The aim of the seminar is to upgrade the knowledge of the participants in the industry.
GAB supervises international derbies. Promoters have to pay P18,500 for every derby and P300 for every match. An international derby should have a minimum of eight foreign participants.
Mitra announced that derby promoters need to secure authorization from GAB before holding a derby starting March 1.