Manila Mayor Erap Estrada is set to construct a cockfighting arena in the town of Sta. Ana in the 6th District of Manila.
Not good, if you were to ask me.
Consider the following: the arena is set to be built along the main thoroughfare of New Panaderos, which connects Pedro Gil Ave. and Kalentong. Heavy traffic usually converges along this road during rush hour. Putting a gaming stadium for cockfight enthusiasts will make the place more of a nightmare for motorists.
Another thing to consider: the arena will be located within one kilometer of 11 churches, 9 public and private schools, two hospitals, and several mini oil-depots. In an already congested area that has a very small geographical leverage, adding an “amusement center” such as that will not do good at all. Even if the revenues being considered here would be double than the one currently being generated in the district, think of the demographical horrors the cockfighting arena would make–issues on solid waste and traffic management, which are major issues already being tackled–and remains largely unsolved–in the metropolis.
Then there’s the moral consideration: a place where you pit roosters against each other and gamble on them doesn’t speak well of a town that is cradle to most of the revered faiths in the country. Sta. Ana is home to the oldest Catholic church in the Manila outside of Intramuros, the first locale of the Iglesia ni Cristo in Punta, the 113-year old Wesley United Methodist Church, and the Metropolitan Bible Baptist Ekklesia, one of the biggest Baptist churches in the country.
To think that these houses of worship will have a competition that has a “cristo” in it? I don’t think so.
Let’s be clear on one thing–the local government of Manila can find more ways of generating income for the city, and building a pit where game fowls claw each other to death isn’t one of them. The intention might be good, but that does not justify the idea of luring people to gambling. And we are not just talking about the patrons who only care for their kickbacks after cockfights: we are talking about the young minds of the students and residents of the area in danger of being corrupted to engage in gambling. I hope none among the proponents of the idea are so naive not to think that kids can be kept off the betting stations. At some point in the life of these students, curiosity will win over them and they will find themselves baited by these “forms of entertainment.”
In conclusion, the point is simply this: can’t we think of a better thing to do in the 6th district of Manila, other than building a sabungan in Sta. Ana? Instead of throwing away taxpayer’s money to building the cockfighting stadium, why not give the money to improving the Sta. Ana hospital? Or perhaps improving the Sta. Ana public market instead of privatizing it? Or a refurbishing of the Sta. Ana Rotonda? Maybe it would be more beneficial if the funds intended for building the cockpit were to be used for the preserving of the cultural heritage of Sta. Ana.
If indeed Mayor Erap is concerned about leaving a good legacy of leadership in the closing years of his life, then he should focus his attention on more important things that will enrich Manila as the premiere city of the country.
And building a fighting pit for chickens isn’t one of them.