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Duterte not keen on suspending e-sabong, justifies continued ops

President Rodrigo Duterte said he is not keen on suspending the operation of online cockfight betting considering the billions of income that the government receives from it.

During his Talk to the People taped on Tuesday and aired on Wednesday, Duterte said Congress would understand his position when they see the figures.

“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’s why I took my time and did not issue an order immediately to suspend its operations because of the income that the government derives from allowing this kind of game to go online in public.)

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) chairperson Andrea Domingo said it is projected that they can collect up to P8 billion from e-sabong operations this year.

“Sa amin pong pag-aanalisa at projection, aabot po hanggang P7.2 billion hanggang P8 billion ang magiging collection sa e-sabong ngayong taong ito,” she said.

(In our analysis and projection, the collection may reach P7.2 billion to P8 billion from e-sabong this year.)

For Duterte, even if he ordered the closure of e-sabong, it would still continue through illegal operations.

“Ngayon, whether sabihin kong isara ko itong e-sabong, papalit naman 'yung mga ilegal. Ganu'n rin," he said.

(Now, whether I issue an order to close e-sabong operations, they will be just replaced by illegal ones. It will just be the same.)

Duterte said however that e-sabong needs to be regulated possibly by the PAGCOR. This is to put limits on its operations such as prohibiting minors from betting.

“That is why there is a need for a regulator on this particular game, itong pusta nitong laro na ito (this betting on this game). We need a regulator somewhere, representative from PAGCOR,” he said.

Calls for the suspension of e-sabong operations came after over 30 sabungeros or cockfight enthusiasts from different areas went missing.

On March 9, the Palace ordered the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to look into the case of the missing sabungeros and submit a report within 30 days. —KG, GMA News