Marcos orders continued suspension of e-sabong operations

Michelle Abad

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Marcos orders continued suspension of e-sabong operations
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. highlights the need to pursue an aggressive crackdown on illegal electronic cockfighting operations

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered the continued suspension of electronic sabong (e-sabong or cockfighting) operations nationwide in an executive order (EO) issued on Wednesday, December 28.

EO No. 9, released to the media on Thursday, December 29, suspends the livestreaming or broadcasting of live cockfights outside cockpits, cockfighting arenas, and premises where cockfights are being held.

Online, remote, or off-cockpit wagering or betting on live cockfighting matches or activities streamed or broadcast live are also prohibited under the suspension, regardless of the location of the betting platform.

“There is an urgent need to reiterate the continued suspension of all e-sabong operations nationwide, clarify the scope of existing regulations, and direct relevant agencies to pursue aggressive crackdown against illegal e-sabong operations, in accordance with law,” EO No. 9 read.

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

Marcos ordered the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) to coordinate with local government units, other concerned government agencies, and the private sector to implement the EO.

The interior department and the Philippine National Police (PNP) in particular are mandated to provide support to Pagcor, and provide regular reports to the President.

EO No. 9 emphasized that the state “has the paramount obligation to protect public health and morals and promote public safety and general welfare.”

The nationwide suspension of e-sabong has been in place since May 3, ordered by then-president Rodrigo Duterte.

Duterte initially turned down calls for a suspension due to e-sabong’s economic benefits. In March, he said the government earned P640 million from online cockfighting every month.

But just over a month later, Duterte ordered the halt of e-sabong, worried over its “social impact.”

On December 20, the PNP announced that at least five cops were dismissed from service over their alleged involvement in the abduction of an e-sabong executive.

PNP spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo told reporters then that the Department of Justice was expected to file criminal charges against only three of the cops, but all five have been dismissed. –

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers overseas Filipinos, the rights of women and children, and local governments.