Continuing e-sabong operations now ‘illegal,’ DILG warns
MANILA, Philippines — Violators of the directive to halt the operations of e-sabong will face arrest and risk being charged in court, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Wednesday following the declaration of the online cockfight games to be illegal.
“Continuing to operate e-sabong at this time would be illegal. Those who continue to defy the suspension can face arrest and can be charged in court,” DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said in an ANC interview.
President Rodrigo Duterte recently ordered to stop online sabong operations upon the recommendation of DILG Secretary Eduardo Año, citing its social cost to Filipinos.
“It should end today…when the President made his announcement that to us is already a presidential directive because it was made in a public statement,” Malaya said.
“So, yesterday we already started implementing it and we are thankful that some of the betting stations have stopped operation already and in fact, Mr. Atong Ang gave a public statement also that they are complying with the president’s order so we expect that today all betting stations are closed and all operations of e-sabong will stop,” he added.
Players affected by the closure of e-sabong operations can just shift to traditional cockfighting, according to Malaya.
DILG estimates that there are five million e-sabong players in the country.
Malaya noted that DILG would “rather have the traditional sabong because these are held on definite times and it’s usually on a Sunday or during a holiday.”
“You don’t get to bet 24 hour a day. So those people who will be displaced by the e-sabong, can just go back to the traditional face-to-face sabong which is allowed under Alert Level 1, all you need is a authority from the local government unit,” he added.
E-sabong’s social costs: Debt, possibly, even death
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