Philippine Law: Cockfighting Law of 1974

The Philippines, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Guam are the models for the world to learn on how the government becomes a partner of cockfighters in the sports of cockfighting.

This is the first Philippine Law about cockfighting. Presidential Decree 449 (original law) and its amendments (1140, 13101535).

Next article will be more recent Philippine Laws on the sports of cockfighting.

– Gameness til the End

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE No. 449 May 9, 1974

COCKFIGHTING LAW OF 1974

WHEREAS, cockfighting has been and still is a popular, traditional and customary form of recreation and entertainment among Filipinos during legal holidays, local fiestas, agricultural, commercial and industrial fairs, carnivals or expositions;

WHEREAS, by reason of the aforestated meaning and connotation of cockfighting in relation to filipino customs and traditions, it should neither be exploited as an object of commercialism or business enterprise, nor made a tool of uncontrolled gambling, but more as a vehicle for the preservation and perpetuation of native Filipino heritage and thereby enhance our national identity.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby decree and order to be part of the laws of the land, the following:

Section 1.

Title.

This Decree shall be known as the “Cockfighting Law of 1974”.

Section 2.

Scope.

This law shall govern the establishment, operation, maintenance and ownership of cockpits.

Section 3.

Declaration of Policy.

It is hereby declared a policy of the government to insure within the framework of the New Society maximum development and promotion of wholesome recreation and amusement to bring about the following goals:

(a) To effectively control and regulate cockfighting towards its establishment as a national recreation, relaxation and source of entertainment;

(b) To provide additional revenue for our tourism program; and

(c) To remove and prevent excessive and unreasonable business operation and profit considerations in the management of cockpits and, instead preserve Philippine customs and traditions and thereby enhance our national identity.

Section 4.

Definition of Terms.

As used in this law, the following terms shall be understood, applied and construed as follows:

(a) Cockfighting shall embrace and mean the commonly known game or term “cockfighting derby, pintakasi or tupada”, or its equivalent terms in different Philippine localities.

(b) Zoning Law or Ordinance Either both national or local city or municipal legislation which logically arranges, prescribes, defines and apportions a given political subdivision into specific land uses as present and future projection of needs warrant.

(c) Bet Taker of Promoter

A person who calls and takes care of bets from owners of both gamecocks and those of other bettors before he orders commencement of the cockfight and thereafter distributes won bets to the winners after deducting a certain commission.

(d) Gaffer (Taga Tari)

A person knowledgeable in the art of arming fighting cocks with gaff or gaffs on either or both legs.

(e) Referee (Sentenciador)

A person who watches and oversees the proper gaffing of fighting cocks, determines the physical condition of fighting cocks while cockfighting is in progress, the injuries sustained by the cocks and their capability to continue fighting and decides and make known his decision by work or gestures and result of the cockfight by announcing the winner or declaring a tie or no contest game.

(f) Bettor

A person who participates in cockfights and with the use of money or other things of value, bets with other bettors or through the bet taker or promoter and wins or loses his bet depending upon the result of the cockfight as announced by the Referee or Sentenciador. He may be the owner of fighting cock.

Section 5.

Cockpits and Cockfighting:

In General:

(a) Ownership, Operation and Management of Cockpits.

Only Filipino citizens not otherwise inhibited by existing laws shall be allowed to own, manage and operate cockpits. Cooperative capitalization is encouraged.

(b) Establishment of Cockpits.

Only one cockpit shall be allowed in each city or municipality, except that in cities or municipalities with a population of over one hundred thousand, two cockpits may be established, maintained and operated.

(c) Cockpits Site and Construction.

Cockpits shall be constructed and operated within the appropriate areas as prescribed in Zoning Law or Ordinance. In the absence of such law or ordinance, the local executives shall see to it that no cockpits are constructed within or near existing residential or commercial areas, hospitals, school buildings, churches or other public buildings. Owners, lessees, or operators of cockpits which are now in existence and do not conform to this requirement are given three years from the date of effectivity of this Decree to comply herewith. Approval or issuance of building permits for the construction of cockpits shall be made by the city or provincial engineer in accordance with their respective building codes, ordinances or engineering laws and practices.

(d) Holding of Cockfights.

Except as provided in this Decree, cockfighting shall be allowed only in licensed cockpits during Sundays and legal holidays and during local fiestas for not more than three days. It may also be held during provincial, city or municipal, agricultural, commercial or industrial fair, carnival or exposition for a similar period of three days upon resolution of the province, city or municipality where such fair, carnival or exposition is to be held, subject to the approval of the Chief of Constabulary or his authorized representative: Provided, that, no cockfighting on the occasion of such fair, carnival or exposition shall be allowed within the month of a local fiesta or for more than two occasions a year in the same city or municipality: Provided, further, 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.

(e) Cockfighting for Entertainment of Tourists or for Charitable Purposes.

Subject to the preceding subsection hereof, the Chief Constabulary or his authorized representative may also allow the holding of cockfighting for the entertainment of foreign dignitaries or for tourists, or for returning Filipinos, commonly known as “Balikbayan”, or for the support of national fund-raising campaigns for charitable purposes as may be authorized by the Office of the President, upon resolution of a provincial board, city or municipal council, in licensed cockpits or in playgrounds or parks: Provided, that this privilege shall be extended for only one time, for a period not exceeding three days, within a year to a province, city, or municipality.

(f) Other games during cockfights prescribed.

No gambling of any kind shall be permitted on the premises of the cockpit or place of cockfighting during cockfights. The owner, manager or lessee off such cockpit and the violators of this injunction shall be criminally liable under Section 8 hereof.

Section 6.

Licensing of Cockpits.

City and municipal mayors are authorized to issue licenses for the operation and maintenance of cockpits subject to the approval of the Chief of Constabulary or his authorized representatives. For this purpose, ordinances may be promulgated for the imposition and collection of taxes and fees not exceeding the rates fixed under Section 13, paragraphs (a) and (b); and 19; paragraph (g) 16 of Presidential Decree No. 231, dated June 28, 1973, otherwise known as the Local Tax Code, as amended.

Section 7.

Cockfighting Officials.

Gaffers, referees or bet takers or promoters shall not act as such in any cockfight herein authorized, without first securing a license renewable every year on their birthmonth from the city or municipality where such cockfighting is held. Cities and municipalities may charge a tax of not more than twenty pesos. Only licensed gaffers, referees, bet takers or promoters shall officiate in all kinds of cockfighting authorized in this Decree.

Section 8.

Penal Provisions.

Any violation of the provisions of this Decree and of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Chief of Constabulary pursuant thereto shall be punished as follows:

a. By prision correccional in its maximum period and a fine of two thousand pesos, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, when the offender is the financer, owner, manger or operator of cockpit, or the gaffer, referee or bet taker in cockfights; or the offender is guilty of allowing, promoting or participating in any other kind of gambling in the premises of cockfights during cockfights.

b. By prision correccional or a fine of not less than six hundred pesos nor more than two thousand pesos or both, such imprisonment and fine at the discretion of the court, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, in case of any other offender.

Section 9.

Repealing Clause.

The provisions of Section 2285 and 2286 of the Revised Penal Code, Republic Act No. 946, all laws, decrees, rules and regulations, or orders which are inconsistent with this Decree are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

Section 10.

Date of Effectivity.

This Decree shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following the completion of the publication in the Official Gazette.

Done in the City of Manila, this 9th day of May, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-four.

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1140

AMENDMENT TO THE COCKFIGHTING LAW OF 1974

WHEREAS, several petitions have been received from local governments and from owners, lessees and operators of cockpits for the extension of the period within which to comply with the zoning requirements for the construction of cockpits as embodied in the Cockpit Law of 1974;

WHEREAS, under said Law, owners, lessees and operators of cockpits were required to transfer their cockpits away from residential or commercial areas, hospitals, school buildings, churches or other public places within three years from the effectivity of the Law, which period expired on May 9, 1977;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby extend for another year the period within which owners, lessees and operators of cockpits shall conform to the provisions of Cockpit Law of 1974, with respect to cockpit sites and their construction.

Done in the City of Manila, this 13th day of May, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-seven.

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1310

AMENDMENT TO THE COCKFIGHTING LAW OF 1974

WHEREAS, cockfighting has proven to be one of the major tourist attraction in the Philippines;

WHEREAS, under existing law only one cockpit is allowed in each city or municipality;

WHEREAS, there is a need to amend the law to allow the establishment of additional cockpits to give impetus to our tourism program.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree:

Section 1.

Section (5)b of Presidential Decree No. 449 is hereby amended to read as follows:”(b) Establishment of Cockpits. — Only one cockpit shall be allowed in each city or municipality: Provided, however, That in cities and municipalities with a population of more than one hundred thousand, two cockpits may be established, maintained and operated in the poblacion and one in each city or town district.

Section 2.

This Decree shall take effect immediately.

Done in the City of Manila, this 6th day of March in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-eight.

PRESIDENTIAL DECREE NO. 1535

AMENDMENT TO THE COCKFIGHTING LAW OF 1974

EXTENDING THE PERIOD WITHIN WHICH TO CONFORM WITH THE ZONING REQUIREMENTS

WHEREAS, cockfighting is still one of the major tourist attractions in the Philippines;

WHEREAS, under existing law, owners, lessees or operators of cockpits are given up to May 9, 1978 to conform with the zoning requirements as prescribed by Section 5 (c) of P.D. No. 449;

WHEREAS, there is a need to extend the period and give these owners, lessees or operators of cockpits, sufficient time within which to conform with these requirements.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, FERDINAND E. MARCOS, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested in me by the Constitution, do hereby order and decree:

Section 1.

Owners, lessees or operators of cockpits which are not in existence and have not conformed with the zoning requirements prescribed by law or ordinance are given two (2) more years from date of effectivity of this Decree to comply therewith.

Section 2.

All laws, decrees, orders, letters of instructions, rules and regulations or parts thereof that are inconsistent with the provisions of this Decree are hereby repealed, superseded, modified or amended accordingly.

Section 3.

This Decree shall take effect immediately. Done in the City of Manila, this 11th day of June, in the year of Our Lord, nineteen hundred and seventy-eight.




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