The government has ordered the temporary suspension of cockfighting in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) in a bid to slow down the spread of the coronavirus in the country. The suspension of the cockpit operations and cockfighting activities was among the six quarantine measures tightened by the government until April 4 to address the rising cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).The decision was included in the Resolution No. 103 issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) during a meeting Thursday, March 18. The resolution was released by the Palace Friday, March 19.“Iyon po ang nakasulat sa resolusyon – bawal po iyong mga sabong at dahil nga po iniiwasan po natin iyong pagtitipon ng tao (It is written in the resolution. Cockfighting will not be allowed because we’re trying to prevent large gathering of people),” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a televised press briefing Friday, March 19.“Actually, nakakita nga ako doon sa ilang mga probinsiya na talagang pagdating sa sabungan, ang dami pa rin talagang nagpupuntahan at sana nga po nagso-social distancing sila doon. Pero ngayon po, bawal muna po iyan (Actually, I’ve seen in some provinces that when it comes to cockfighting, many people still go and I hope they’re social distancing there. But for now, it will not be allowed),” he said.Asked if online cockifighting is allowed, Roque deferred to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to address the matter. “Alam ninyo po iyan (You know) that’s a very touchy issue. Pero if I’m not mistaken po, PAGCOR po ang mayroong hurisdiksyon po diyan sa tinatawag nating online sabong (But if I’m not mistaken, PAGCR has jurisdiction over online cockfighting),” he said.The country’s cases have surged past 640,000 with over 12,000 deaths as new and more infectious coronavirus variants have been detected.The government allowed the resumption of cockfighting in areas under modified general community quarantine back in October 2020.In a memorandum released by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) at the time, such operations may be allowed subject to observance of health and safety protocols. The government however prohibited in-person audience, online or remote betting, and live broadcasting of cockfighting. The cockfighting activities, the DILG said, would also depend on the sound judgment of the concerned local government units.