Facebook has not yet removed illegal e-sabong pages — DILG

Facebook has not yet removed illegal e-sabong pages � DILG
Television showing feeds of cockfight events.
Philstar.com / Irish Lising

MANILA, Philippines — Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said they are disappointed that Facebook has not yet removed several pages promoting the conduct of e-sabong, which is now illegal after President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the industry's closure. 

He said they earlier wrote to the social media platform and its parent company Meta to take down the erring pages.

On Wednesday, Malaya said in a Laging Handa briefing that they have not yet received a reply from Facebook about their request to remove eight pages on the platform.

"Unfortunately, up until today...those Facebook pages still haven't been removed," he said in Filipino. 

"We are dismayed. We are disappointed that because they have not shut down the pages, it's as if they are tolerating illegal activity in the Philippines. It's like they are appearing as an accessory to an illegal activity...for illegal e-sabong," Malaya added.

He narrated that one of their staff members previously sent a message to one of the Facebook pages, which directs users to a place where they can engage in e-sabong, or the remote betting on cockfights. 

Malaya said that as a business operating in the Philippines, Facebook has to abide by the country's laws. 

If the platform and its parent company do not reply to DILG, Malaya said they are mulling over speaking with their lawyers. 

After defending e-sabong as an activity which generates millions of revenues for the government per month, Duterte in March announced he is putting an end to it, citing its social impacts. The president made the decision after DILG Secretary Eduardo Año conducted a survey on the sentiments of Filipinos on e-sabong, and confirmed what Duterte has been hearing. 

This comes after a Senate panel held four hearings on the disappearances of over 30 individuals linked to e-sabong activities earlier this year. 

E-sabong, which brings in P640 million a month in revenues to the government, used to be regulated by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp.

At present, the conduct of physical sabong activities is legal and allowed on certain days, such as Sundays and legal holidays, among others. — Angelica Y. Yang

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