“I hope the incoming administration maintains its opposition to this.”
Sometime last year, I wrote an article regarding the ills of e-sabong citing the social cost it has generated involving the lives lost as some who had their entire family fortune wiped out had resorted to taking their own lives. And this does not even include the number of people feared to have been killed in relation to the operations of e-sabong.
I was kind of relieved when I read a statement from incoming Executive Secretary Vic Rodriguez that President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos is not keen on tapping e-sabong or online cockfighting for revenues as it tends to “compromise the value of the Filipino family.”
Rodriguez made the statement in reaction to Albay Rep. Joey Salceda’s pronouncement saying the government will need to raise P326 billion in fresh revenues yearly to trim the country’s ballooning debt.
But Rodriguez shot down any proposal to tap e-sabong as he stressed that “even if the potential revenue, not just for e-sabong but for any industry, is really enticing, if it will compromise the moral fiber of the youth, if it will compromise the value of Filipino family, President-elect Bongbong is more than willing to let go of that lucrative source of revenue.”
I agree 100 percent with Atty. Vic on this. It’s not only the potential income that matters but the government’s effort to help build a strong family, the very foundation of a strong society.
And to think that except for their franchise fees the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation charges the e-sabong operators reportedly don’t pay taxes for the income actually derived from each fight.
However, while the incoming BBM administration and the even the Duterte government are against the e-sabong, with the latter even ordering a ban on e-sabong operations, a friend, Non Alquitran, who writes a column for another paper, says e-sabong operators are defying the President’s order and haven’t cease their operations. And I am inclined to believe this as I have been receiving text messages asking me to place bets on the online sabong.
It’s about time the government got more serious in its handling of e-sabong. And one way is to take away its access to one of its tools in its operation—the e-wallets.
The other week, Senator Francis ‘Tol’ Tolentino called on the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas to order the removal of the online sabong feature from existing e-wallet applications amid the latest order issued by Malacañang against the virtual cockfighting industry.
According to Tolentino, since President Rodrigo Duterte already cut the legal umbilical cord of the e- sabong industry, the BSP which has the authority over online payment companies should likewise order the removal of the virtual cockfighting features from those e-wallet services.
Tolentino explained that since the questionable bases used by PAGCOR in regulating e-sabong—the two separate legal opinions issued by the Department of Justice (and the Office of the Solicitor General (respectively—were already nullified following the issuance of a cease order by the President himself, there is no more reason for these e-wallet providers to maintain the virtual cockfighting feature from their respective mobile applications.
Tolentino stressed that removing the online sabong feature from e-wallet applications like GCash and Paymaya will avert possible illegal betting from unsanctioned cockfights.
Tolentino noted that the reason why e-sabong has proliferated and became a multi-billion industry is the fact that the BSP recognized those licenses issued by PAGCOR to online sabong operators and allowed cockfight aficionados to place the bets through e-wallet services.
The senator said that once you remove the e-sabong app from payment service providers, then no one can place any through GCash and Paymaya. Pilay na ang operation.
I sincerely hope the BSP heeds Senator Tol’s call. And that the incoming BBM administration continues its opposition to the e-sabong operations.