Duterte justifies continued e-sabong ops: ‘Wag niyo na lang anuhin ‘yan’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday justified the continued operations of e-sabong or online cockfighting in the country, citing the billions in revenue it generates.
In his regular public address aired Wednesday morning, Duterte told lawmakers they would understand his position if they have an idea of just how much e-sabong generates in terms of revenue. The President added that the government now needs that revenue.
“Ang appeal ko lang sa mga congressman, ‘wag niyo na lang anuhin ‘yan. Kumikita ‘yan, walang nakikinabang dyan except Pagcor, ‘yung malalaking players na naglalaro talaga diyan,” he said in his regular public address aired on Wednesday morning.
(I appeal to congressmen to stop meddling with it. It is generating revenue, no one is benefitting there except Pagcor and the big players.)
Inquirer.net has asked Malacañang to clarify Duterte’s call to lawmakers.
The Senate earlier transmitted to Malacañang and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) its resolution calling for the suspension of e-sabong operations in the country.
The resolution was brought about by the disappearance of at least 31 “sabungeros” or cockfighters.
“Kaya ako dahan-dahan na hindi muna ako nag-react agad na sabihin na i-suspend because of the income that the government derives from allowing this kind of game to go online in public ,” he said.
(That is why I did not react immediately and ordered the suspension because of the income that the government derives from allowing this kind of game to go online in public.)
Duterte said suspension, or even limiting the operations of the online gambling scheme will result in the reduction of billions of income.
“Mamimili ako ngayon, na mawala income by the billions. Sayang eh, wala tayong pera. We’re short on money,” he said.
(I will choose now between losing income by the billions. It’s such a waste. We don’t have money. We’re short on money.)
He admitted that he has allowed the operations of Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGO) just for the income it generates.
“Kaya ako pumayag pati sa POGO, I will admit talagang binigyan ko ng imprimatur. The only reason is because it gives income to government,” the President said.
(I allowed POGO because it gives income to the government.)
He also reasoned that e-sabong will still continue — albeit illegally — even if he ordered the suspension of operations.
The Philippine Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) collected over P3.6 billion from eight e-sabong licensees from April to December last year. From January to March 15, the Pagcor was able to collect P1.3 billion from seven licensees.
Pagcor said the suspension of e-sabong will not be enough to stop the activity, saying it will only lead to more illegal e-sabong activities.