Posted on: February 22, 2022, 08:33h.
Last updated on: February 22, 2022, 02:02h.
At least 20 people who have, in one form or another, participated in cockfighting in the Phillippines have gone missing. And now police in the country are looking for answers.
Cockfighting in the Philippines has always been big business, but not everyone thinks it’s a worthwhile activity. Still, as long as the events follow certain rules, they can be held in most regions of the country.
However, for almost a year, people linked to cockfighting are disappearing. It’s not just one or two scattered here and there. The Philippine News Agency (PNA) indicates that groups of up to 10 suddenly vanish.
Mysterious Cockfighting Disappearances
The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are now working together to get to the bottom of the disappearances. The PNA highlights 10 men from Bulcan who have been missing for over eight months. Their last known sighting was at a cockfighting match.
Another 10 disappeared after attending separate cockfights in Laguna and Manila this past January. In that incident, surveillance footage recorded a vehicle linked to some of the individuals leaving the area. However, there was no confirmation that the victims were inside at the time.
The issue has even become a subject of interest for the Philippine Senate, which is also pushing the investigation. In the meantime, the PNP and the NBI will “work hand-in-hand in resolving these cases,” according to PNP Chief General Dionardo Carlos.
Illegal Cockfights Targeted by Authorities
Some areas of the Philippines require licenses to operate cockfights. Ilocos Norte is one, as it approved a new measure last Friday. Through Executive Order No. 175-22, cockpits can hold contests, but only at 50% of the venue’s capacity because of COVID-19. The fights are open only to residents of the province.
Regulations like these could help counter mass disappearances since they provide a way to track activity. Since Ilocos Norte is mandating the use of cashless technology at the venues, they will also reduce the threat of money laundering.
Ilocos Norte is able to allow cockfighting because the province is now under COVID-19 Alert Level 2. This level offers certain relaxed policies that the more stringent Alert Level 3 doesn’t.
The Philippines is just now relaxing the COVID-19 threat, moving from Level 3 to 2 in many areas. However, it didn’t come soon enough for the Eastern Visayas. Police arrested over 80 people in raids across the region last week when it was still under Alert Level 3.
In one, law enforcement raided a cockpit in Dagami, Leyte, arresting 52 people. Elsewhere, the number ranged from one to eight in a total of nine locations.