Sunday, August 23, 2009


Sunday, August 23, 2009


Sabong goes to Congress

We wonder why it has taken this long for the Alyansa ng Sabungero to seek party-list status and congressional representation. The cockpit workers belong to one of the oldest occupations in the country but conditions of life and work have hardly improved.

Critics are wrong to say that the major heirs of sectoral representation are the wealthy cockers and cockpit owners. For every gambler, there are scores of kristo, sentenciador, casador, mananari, largador, matchmakers, takilyador and backyard breeders who depend for a living on betting money and on the tahor they work for winning and making a bundle.

Cockfight toilers claim a national constituency because a cockpit inhabits almost every city and major municipality. It is not known what cause—apart from improving their lot—the sabong workers will espouse in Congress. They might ask for a bigger share of the winnings and the losing cocks.

We heard the party would have for its motto, “Karangalan at Kaunlaran,” because cockfighting has a strong code of honor. Every player honors his bet; nobody cheats. The Alyansa said it hopes to infect the congressmen with its tradition of honesty.

A strong caucus is expected to lobby for the group—sportsmen like Chavit Singson, Peping Cojuangco, Ronnie Puno, Manny Pacquiao and Jun Santiago, among others. Many congressmen breed gamecocks and gamble a lot. National Artist Anding Roces, who has chronicled life in the cockpit, could be expected to write the group’s manifesto.

The entry of alyansa is one of the good news in the party-list scene. We heard the community of artists—writers, painters, composers and others—has applied for membership. They claim MalacaƱang has marginalized them. They claim under-representation in the boards of the Cultural Center of the Philippines and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts as well as the Appeals Committee in the Palace.

The Comelec commissioners, some senators, opinion writers and other kibitzers find the Alyansa move amusing and the fact that more than 250 groups have applied for accreditation. They should re-read the Party-List Act which says that the state shall promote representation for marginalized and underrepresented Pinoys who could contribute to the drafting and passage of laws that will benefit the nation.

What is good for the cockpit workers could be good for the country. And that goes for the other threatened sectors—like the jueteng collectors, mistresses, smokers, gays, prisoners, call-center workers and housemaids—who are integral to society and who deserve a voice in the important task of lawmaking.

1 comment:

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