Following a rash of abductions, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered an immediate ban on online cockfighting, popularly known as e-sabong.
During a regular address on Monday, Duterte announced the ban, reversing his prior statement that he did not want to cease e-sabong operations because of the cash it provided for the government.
“[Interior Secretary Eduardo Ao] has recommended that e-sabong be phased out, citing the validation report from all sources.” So it’s his recommendation, and I agree with it, it’s fine, so e-sabong will end,” the President said, adding that the sport’s continuous presence was not justified by the Php640 million (US$12 million) in monthly tax collections.
“We’re simply interested in collecting taxes, but the stories I’ve heard convinced me that it was working against our ideals.” It has an effect on individuals and their families.”
According to local media sources, a study on e-sabong operations performed by the Department of the Interior and Local Government indicated that 62 percent of respondents wanted the activity prohibited. It also revealed several accounts of people pawning their belongings in order to wager on e-sabong.
As previously reported by IAG, investigations are ongoing into the disappearances of 31 persons thought to be tied to betting on the popular bloodsport, which is claimed to be a long-standing tradition in the Philippines.
Ten men went missing after being observed at cockfighting stadiums in Laguna and Manila on January 13, another six men went missing after participating in a cockfighting tournament in Manila on the same day, and ten men from Bulacan have been missing since attending a cockfighting competition in mid-2021.
“The DILG applauds the President’s decision to end e-Sabong,” Secretary Ao remarked. The pulse of the people must be taken into account in government policies. This conclusion is based on the results of a poll that reflects public opinion. This was not a hastily made decision.”
PAGCOR, the Philippine gambling authority, just started giving licenses to selected e-sabong operators in May 2021, in an effort to boost revenues while combating unlawful online activity.
The regulator said at the time that it “advises the public not to engage in any gaming activity from unlicensed e-sabong operators and unregistered e-sabong websites to avoid being duped and cheated of your hard-earned money.
“It is for the above reasons that PAGCOR had to step in to regulate the emerging industry to primarily protect the Filipino players and to ensure that the government get its appropriate share of revenues from their operations. Without regulation, e-sabong will proliferate and have far reaching detrimental effects on its players.”