Pampanga mayors asked to continue ‘e-sabong’ crackdown
MABALACAT CITY—Pampanga Gov. Dennis Pineda has directed the mayors of the two component cities and the 19 towns in the province to stop any operations of online cockfighting in their areas following reports that these continued to proliferate despite a government ban.
According to Pineda, despite the ongoing suspension by the national government, online or “e-sabong” operations are still being conducted by some “unscrupulous” individuals and groups that “victimize and corrupt some of our cabalens (provincemates).”
Pineda, in a Dec. 20 memorandum, reminded all mayors in Pampanga to comply with the directives from the Office of the President, the Department of the Interior and Local Government, and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) about the prohibition of online cockfighting operations.
The ban on online cockfighting was issued by former President Rodrigo Duterte on May 3 this year, citing its “social cost” to Filipinos.
Duterte halted e-sabong operations based on the recommendation of then Interior Secretary Eduardo Año following a survey that showed its adverse social impacts. The suspension was also partly due to reports of missing cockfight enthusiasts who were reportedly abducted.
In his memorandum, Pineda asked the mayors to “bring to justice” any person engaged in online cockfighting operations “so that they may be dealt with in accordance to the law.”
On Sept. 14, policemen arrested seven people at an alleged online sabong betting station in Telapayong village in Pampanga’s Arayat town.
The Central Luzon police said a 49-inch television set being used to show live cockfighting, a mobile phone to receive online bets and P33,000 in bet money were confiscated from the suspects.
In a recent gathering of more than 6,000 village peacekeepers from the 505 barangays of Pampanga, Pineda also asked the watchmen to help the police fight online cockfighting.
Out in the open
On Facebook, several groups continued to promote online cockfighting in the Philippines, the Inquirer learned. These include “Online casino/sabong,” a public group that has more than 512,000 members.
Some members of the groups have posted notices about the hiring of agents and players for online cockfighting sites that include “PH Sabong,” “SA BONG,” “swerte99” and other sites.
On Pagcor’s website, the state-owned gaming corporation’s E-Sabong Licensing Department has a notice that all operations of e-sabong in the country have been suspended.
On Wednesday, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. issued Executive Order No. 9 for the continued suspension of online cockfighting operations nationwide, describing the move as an “urgent need.”
According to the President, the suspension is in line with the government’s “paramount obligation to protect public health and morals and promote public safety and general welfare.”
In his order, Marcos said livestreaming or broadcasting live cockfights outside cockpits, cockfighting arenas or other places where cockfights are held, regardless of the location of the betting platform, remained prohibited.
The order also suspended online, remote, or off-cockpit wagering or betting on live cockfighting matches.
The operations of traditional cockfights authorized or licensed under existing laws are not covered by the suspension. —WITH A REPORT FROM JEROME ANING INQ