Marcos orders continued suspension of e-sabong

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has issued Executive Order (EO) 9 directing the continued suspension of electronic sabong (e-sabong) operations nationwide, the Office of the Press Secretary said.

The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) defines e-sabong as “the online/remote or off-site wagering/betting on live cockfighting matches, events and/or activities streamed or broadcasted live from cockpit arena/s licensed or authorized by the local government units having jurisdiction thereof.”

According to EO 9 issued last December 28, the live streaming or broadcasting of live cockfights outside cockpits or cockfighting arenas, or premises where cockfights are being held, is suspended.

The EO also suspends online/remote, or off-cockpit wagering/betting on live cockfighting matches and/or activities streamed or broadcast live, regardless of the betting platform’s location, meaning even if the betting platform is located “inside the cockpit or cockfighting arenas, or premises where cockfights are being held.”

The operations of traditional cockfights authorized or licensed under existing laws are not covered by the suspension.

Marcos issued the order, citing the state’s obligation “to protect public health and morals and promote public safety and the general welfare.”

Pagcor has been tasked to coordinate with local government units, the relevant government agencies and private entities on the implementation of EO 9.

Last May 3, then President Rodrigo Duterte ordered all e-sabong operations suspended following the disappearance of 34 cockfighting enthusiasts who allegedly remain missing to this day.

Duterte also cited reports he had received from the Department of the Interior and Local Government about e-sabong working against Filipino values and negatively impacting families.

He said some betters were no longer sleeping because e-sabong was available 24 hours a day.

E-sabong is very lucrative for operators.

Last March, Duterte expressed reluctance to put a stop to e-sabong operations, citing the P640 million per month that the government earned from it.