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Duterte may decide on the fate of e-sabong

President Rodrigo Duterte said he will decide on the fate of e-sabong (online cockfighting) operations by Monday. 

In a speech in San Fernando City, Pampanga during the inspection of the Overseas Filipino Workers Hospital on Sunday, Duterte said the Department of the Interior and Local Government has finished drafting a recommendation on whether or not to suspend e-sabong operations.

“I tasked the DILG to make a serious study of the e-sabong. The recommendation is on my table now. I will read it and maybe by Monday we will find out if we will allow its continued operations or not,” Duterte said.

Duterte acknowledged that while the government is earning millions of pesos from the betting game, it also creates a “social problem.”

“If it was just me, I would take a risk. But there is apparently a social problem evolving. So, we have a problem there and we want to be fair to everybody but then again, we must study seriously or take into consideration the social issues,” the President said.

The DILG recommendation comes on the heels of the disappearance of over 30 e-sabong aficionados (sabungeros) since late last year.,

In February, the Senate filed a resolution urging the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation to suspend e-sabong operations until the case of the missing sabungeros are resolved.

Pagcor chairperson Andrea Domingo earlier said e-sabong should have an independent regulator, noting that the controversies surrounding the industry are impacting other gaming operations.

She said e-sabong operations contribute some 8 percent to 9 percent of the total income of the agency, or about P650 million monthly to Pagcor’s gross gaming revenues.

The Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group has filed kidnapping and robbery charges against five police officers who might be involved in the alleged kidnappings.

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