Presidential bets differ on grant of e-sabong franchise

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Presidential bets differ on grant of e-sabong franchise
Image shows a cockfight.
Pixabay / ToanNguyen

MANILA, Philippines — Will they allow online cockfighting, more popularly known as e-sabong, get a legislative franchise if they clinch the seat at Malacañang? Presidential aspirants are so far differing on their views on the game.

Both Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso and Sen. Manny Pacquiao said during the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas presidential forum that they are in favor of giving e-sabong a franchise, with both of them arguing that it is better left regulated by the government.

“All these things must be regulated at pumasok sa awtoridad ng pamahalaan para mas lalo nating ma-regulate, mabantayan kung paano sila nagko-conduct ng business,” Domagoso said.

(All these things must be regulated and be under the authority of the government so that we can regulate them further and guard how they are conducting business.)

Pacquiao, meanwhile, said, “Kailangan po nating i-regulate at ma-manage nang husto ng ating gobyerno na lahat na maglalaro ay may sapat na kakayahan at edad, hindi yung mga bata na pumapasok at nagsusugal diyan.”

(The government must regulate and ensure that all players are of the right ability and age, and are not children who are just gambling.)

He added that the government stands to earn from tax revenues coming from e-sabong.

Vice President Leni Robredo, on the other hand, said she is not in favor of anything that can cause addiction, especially among the youth, but quipped that it is not up to her to grant or deny a franchise for e-sabong.

“Hindi kasi ako iyong magga-grant ng franchise kundi Congress. Iyong sa akin lang, kailangan pag-usapan nang maayos ito sa Kongreso, pakinggan iyong lahat ng apektado. Hindi lang iyong naga-apply ng franchise pero iyong community na maapektuhan,” Robredo said.

(I will not be the one to grant a franchise, but Congress. For me, this must be discussed thoroughly in Congress, for them to listen to all those who would be affected, not just the one applying for a franchise but the community as well.)

Labor leader Leody de Guzman is also against e-sabong and wants to shift people away from gambling.

“I-pokus natin iyong kanilang enerhiya hindi sa pagsusugal, kundi sa pagtulong sa ating mga mamamayan para tayo ay maka-recover dito sa ating kinakaharap na problema sa kabuhayan at problema dito sa kalusugan and at the same time problema natin doon sa klima,” De Guzman said.

(Let us focus our energy not on gambling, but on helping our countrymen recover from our current problems on livelihood, health and climate.)

Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, meanwhile, only said that a grant of a franchise for e-sabong should be carefully considered by Congress, while acknowledging that the game has led to harm.

“May social problem, may social cost. Mga OFWs tumataya, mga bata tumataya,” Lacson said. “Tingnan natin mabuti iyong social cost na nakapaloob dito. Iyong posibleng tax, pangalawa na lang iyon eh. Napakaimportante iyong security ng ating mga pamilya.”

(There’s a social problem, a social cost. OFWs and children are betting … Let us closely look at the social cost of this. The possible tax, that only comes second. The security of our family is very important.)

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