Suspension of e-sabong operations to begin immediately

Suspension of e-sabong operations to begin immediately

The DILG will immediately implement the president's directive to suspend e-sabong operations across the country.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will immediately implement President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's directive to suspend e-sabong operations nationwide, which he issued on Monday night.

According to DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Ao, the President's decision validates the Department's assessment of the situation on the ground and a nationwide public survey that reflects the public's pulse.

“The DILG welcomes the President’s decision to stop e-Sabong. Government policies must take heed of the pulse of the people. This decision is rooted in a survey reflecting the sentiment of the people. Hindi ito bara-bara na desisyon,” Año said.

“The President’s decision based on public sentiment against online gambling is a sign of the responsive governance of his administration. It serves the common good and the preservation of the moral fabric of our society,” he added while clarifying that the traditional physical sabong will continue to operate in compliance with minimum public health standards (MPHS) as regulated by local government units (LGUs).

He stated that he has directed the Philippine National Police and local governments to halt all e-Sabong operations.

According to Año, the DILG conducted the survey through its regional and field offices, with respondents from every city and municipality in the country.

He said that 8,463 respondents participated in the DILG's online sentiment survey from April 19-20, 2022, to gauge public perceptions of e-Sabong and provide the President with a basis for his decision on the fate of e-Sabong.

The respondents were e-Sabong participants, whether they were agents, employees, bettors, or players, and non-participants or non-players who were related to or acquainted with the three stakeholders mentioned.

According to the survey results, 62 percent, or the majority of those polled, want to put an end to e-Sabong, which became prominent during the pandemic's community quarantine in the last two years; 34 percent want it to continue but with tighter regulation, and 4 percent completely support it.

Respondents' reasons for opposing e-Sabong include gambling addiction, player bankruptcy, indebtedness, the cost to the family, neglect of work and studies, and crime.

"The DILG recommended suspending the operations of e-Sabong until a better set of framework and regulations are formulated so that it will not significantly harm any of the stakeholders and lead to the moral decay of society,” he said in the report to the President.

While the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs recommended that e-Sabong operations be restricted to Sundays and holidays only, he stated that “it is still better to stick to the original physical sabong practice with strict observance of MPHS.”

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR)’s Regulatory Framework for Electronic Sabong defines e-Sabong as “an online, remote, or off-site wagering or betting on live cockfighting matches, events, and/or activities streamed or broadcasted live from cockpit arena/s licensed or authorized by the LGUs having jurisdiction thereof.” —Tacloban News Update (Source: DILG)

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