Sen. Villanueva wants a stop on 'e-sabong' | Inquirer News
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Sen. Villanueva wants a stop on ‘e-sabong’

By: - Contributor / @inquirerdotnet
06:13 PM February 28, 2022

Sen. Joel Villanueva called for the immediate stoppage of “e-sabong” or online cockfighting operations in the country due to its negative social effects.

“E-sabong should not be allowed to operate if we cannot protect our countrymen against the negative social effects of gambling,” the senator said in a statement.

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“Money is not the only thing at stake here, but also the lives of our people.”

The senator, who is running for re-election, questioned PAGCOR’s involvement in e-sabong based on its own charter during the hearing of the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs last Thursday.

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“This representation was part of the House of Representatives when we opposed the passage of the PAGCOR Charter in 2007. According to Section 10 of Republic Act No. 9487 or the amended PAGCOR Charter, cockfighting is not included in games that PAGCOR is allowed to authorize, license, and regulate. What is the legal basis for PAGOR to grant licenses for e-sabong operations?,” Villanueva asked.

The hearing last Thursday also showed that PAGCOR has no mechanism for e-sabong operators banning government workers from participating in its gambling operations.

“Let’s stop e-sabong operations if PAGCOR cannot stop government officials or even the police from betting. If this were a different business, the government has already shut this down,” the senator said.

Villanueva also said that the kin of individuals with gambling problems can file a complaint to prevent these individuals from entering establishments like casinos, known as the “Responsible Player Gaming Exclusion.”

But PAGCOR said during the hearing that such a system has yet to be implemented for e-sabong.

The senator also pointed out how easy it is to violate these guidelines because of access to betting on e-sabongthrough online payment platforms. Villanueva said that that it only takes two minutes for a government employee, a minor, or even OFWs to register and bet because of insufficient identity and age verification mechanisms.

PAGCOR confirmed that they can suspend gambling licenses if there are violations to these regulations such as allowing minors to bet.

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Villanueva said that pathological gambling causes mental disease, which results to the destruction of families, crime, and even suicide.

The senator supported a Senate resolution urging the PAGCOR to suspend the license of e-sabong operators as long as the case of the reportedly missing 31 sabungeros are still unresolved.

“Jobs not gambling provide opportunities for Filipinos. We don’t want to neglect our livelihood due to gambling which proves to be a risk for our countrymen,” Villanueva said.

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TAGS: e-sabong, Villanueva
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