The government has made a final appeal to Meta, the mother company of social media giant Facebook to take down online sabong or “e-sabong” pages on the platform, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said.
The DILG said the department has yet to receive a response to the letter it sent a week ago to Meta about the operations of e-sabong networks on the social platform.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, in an ABS-CBN News report, said “this e-sabong is an illegal activity. If this is not a violation of community standards on Facebook, then I do not know what else could be violative of Facebook rules because this is an illegal activity.”
“We have submitted to them the list of Facebook pages, groups, accounts, and sites encouraging people to play illegal on-line sabong but despite official communication and public appeals, Meta Platforms has ignored the request of Philippine authorities. The said accounts are still operational — in violation of the Presidential directive and of the Cockfighting Law as amended by PD 1612 — and we have not received a reply from Meta to this date,” he said in a statement.
Earlier, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a halt in e-sabong operations citing its negative social impacts.
“We are, therefore, making this final appeal to Meta to immediately and without further delay take down these pages,” Malaya said in the report.
The DILG recently reported that it has shot down seven e-sabong websites late last month, However, several Facebook pages and groups were still operating e-sabong, the DILG said.
Malaya also said the DILG have sought the help other concerned agencies that will compel FB to take down the pages of the illegal gambling game.
In a Laging Handa briefing, Malaya admitted that they are saddened that illegal e-sabong operation can still be viewed in the FB websites.
He said e-sabong operation is a direct violation of a presidential directive that is covered by the Cockfighting Law of 1974 or Presidential Decree (PD) 449 as amended by PD 1602 where it is indicated that only the traditional face-to-face cockfighting is lawful.
He said physical sabong (cockfighting) should be done only every Sundays, legal holidays and town fiestas.
“All kinds of cockfighting outside PD 449 are illegal,’’ Malaya said.
He further said the DILG, in the letter sent to Meta, cited the pages still operating e-sabong.
Malaya said until now, the illegal-sabong operations in the FB accounts have not been removed after visiting the FB pages of the unlawful cockfighting game.
“Their continued inaction on the request of this Department, the Philippine National Police, and other government agencies to take-down pages, accounts, and other links encouraging people to patronize illegal e-sabong is tantamount to tolerating illegal activity in their platform. It is not only a violation of Philippine Law but also a violation of Facebook’s own community standards,” he added.
Being a business entity operating in local shores, Malaya said Facebook is bound by Philippine laws which they should abide by.
But based on the police reports, Malaya said there are still 12 identified e-sabong websites and eight FB pages of the illegal gambling activity.