Duterte to end e-sabong

Angelica Y. Yang - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — After defending e-sabong as an activity which generates millions of revenues for the government every month, President Rodrigo Duterte said that he is putting an end to it, citing its social impact on Filipinos. 

In his recorded "Talk to the People" aired Tuesday, Duterte said he is following the recommendation of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief Eduardo Año.

"The recommendation of Sec. Año is to do away with e-sabong and he cited the validation report coming from all sources, so it's his recommendation and I agree with it, and it is good. So e-sabong will end by tonight o bukas (or tomorrow). Lalabas ito bukas (This will come out tomorrow)," Duterte said.

He explained that he earlier ordered Año to conduct a survey on the social impact of e-sabong on Filipinos. Duterte said Año's findings confirmed what he has been hearing. 

"May naririnig na ako, loud and very clear to me, that it was working against...our values and 'yung impact sa pamilya pati sa tao, e ang labas, hindi na natutulog 'yung mga sabungero [for] 24 hours, that was the first objection that I've heard from somebody, I think it was coming from a congressman na sobra ito," Duterte said. 

("I've been hearing- and the message is loud and very clear- that it was working against our values and- the impact that it has on families- it keeps sabungeros up for 24 hours. That was the first objection that I've heard from somebody, I think it was a congressman, that it was too much.")

E-sabong or the placing of online bets during live cockfighting games is being regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

The e-sabong industry generates P640 million a month in revenues for the government, Duterte has said.

READ: Duterte: E-sabong revenues needed since COVID-19 depleted other funds

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs has held four hearings on the disappearances of more than 30 individuals reportedly linked to e-sabong activities. 

In February 2022, the panel issued a resolution urging Pagcor to suspend all the licenses of e-sabong operators until they find an acceptable conclusion to the missing people. 

The Palace, in a memorandum issued in March, however, allowed e-sabong to continue but ordered the national police force and the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the disappearances. 

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