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Iloilo town tries to keep bullfighting tradition.

By Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY - Officials in the southern Iloilo town of San Joaquin are trying to find ways to retain the annual bullfighting lo-cally known as Pasungay, which was canceled last weekend amid accusations of animal cruelty.

Town Councilor Joe Abad S. Lazaro Jr. told Manila Bulletin Wednesday the Pasungay, which features a fight between two carabaos (water buffaloes), is integral to San Joaquin's cultural heritage.

Lazaro reiterated the deci-sion of Mayor Ninfa Serag Garin to cancel the Jan. 19 bullfight was to avoid any legal problems for the carabao owners, spectators and the town itself.

A group known as Animal Kingdom Foundation (AKF) had denounced the event as a violation of Republic Act No. 10631 or the Amended Animal Welfare Act.

Local officials are now seek-ing experts to interpret the law or if a provision can be made to allow the future holding of Pasun-gay without any implication.

San Joaquin has been holding the Pasungay for over a century. In the photo book Recuerdos de Filipinas, there is a picture of a bullfight taken by Felix Lau-reano in Iloilo sometime late in the 1800s.

Tourism Officer Erlyn Alu-nan said the Pasungay draws an annual crowd of more than 10,000 and helps boost the local economy.

Meanwhile, Lazaro refused to comment if the mounting po-litical attack against the Garin clan is the reason behind AKF's protest against the Pasungay, which never encountered any protest in the past.

CAPTION(S):

Two carabaos (water buffaloes with horns) charge at each other during the 2018 Pasungay Festival in San Joaquin town, Iloilo province. (Tara Yap / MANILA BULLETIN)

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Title Annotation:Provincial
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jan 24, 2019
Words:266
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