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Senators welcome Duterte's move to end e-sabong

Philstar.com
Senators welcome Duterte's move to end e-sabong
E-sabong involves remote betting on cockfights.
Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Two senators on Tuesday welcomed the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to end e-sabong, with Senate President Vicente "Tito" Sotto III saying that the activity has imbued Filipinos with questionable morals. 

A Senate panel earlier launched four hearings into the disappearances of over 30 individuals reportedly linked to e-sabong activities, with lawmakers calling on the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) to suspend gaming operations until they find adequate answers as to what happened to the missing people. 

Duterte said in his recorded "Talk to the People" aired Tuesday that he is putting an end to e-sabong, citing its social impact on Filipinos

“I’m very pleased with the decision of President Duterte to suspend the operation of e-sabong. While the government has been generating millions of pesos in revenues from this game, it has created dysfunctional families and instilled questionable morals among the people," Sotto said in a statement shared with reporters on Viber. 

He said that the Senate's resolution to suspend e-sabong was heeded to. 

"I am hopeful that the suspension of e-sabong operations in the country, while delayed, will pave the way for families to recover from their financial losses and allow them to renew relationships that were set aside," he added.

Sotto brought up the idea of suspending e-sabong operations during a Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs hearing earlier this year.

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the chamber's public services committee, said she is in favor of halting of e-sabong operations.

"Life and family are always of utmost importance. With the President's order, we will be able to focus on giving justice to the missing people and their loved ones," she said in Filipino in a statement on Tuesday. 

Before his announcement, Duterte defended e-sabong, explaining that the government needs the revenues from the online betting activities since the pandemic has depleted other funds.

He made his decision, however, to put an end to the operations, saying he was following the recommendation of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) chief Eduardo Año whom he ordered to conduct a survey on the social impact of e-sabong on Filipinos. Duterte said Año's findings confirmed what he has been hearing.

The e-sabong industry generates an estimated P640 million a month in revenues for the Philippine government. 

E-sabong is regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

Pagcor chairman Andrea Domingo said Tuesday that they will implement Duterte's decision to stop e-sabong operations, GMA News Online reported. — Angelica Y. Yang

DUTERTE

E-SABONG

GRACE POE

PAGCOR

RODRIGO DUTERTE

SENATE

TITO SOTTO

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