(PNA file photo) 

MANILA – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Monday thanked the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) for heeding the call of President Rodrigo Duterte to stop e-sabong operations in the country by immediately ordering its bank-supervised financial institutions (BSFIs) to remove all e-sabong operators from the list of merchants in their respective online applications.

At the same time, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año called on Facebook (FB) to block several FB pages or accounts catering to illegal e-sabong operations, including those in its social media affiliates or subsidiaries.

Malaking bagay ang ginawang direktiba ng BSP na ipatanggal ang e-sabong sa listahan ng mga maaaring bayaran sa e-wallets tulad ng G-Cash at PayMaya. Salamat, BSP, sa mabilis na aksyon at pagtugon sa utos ng Pangulo (The BSP's directive to remove e-sabong from the list of payables in e-wallets such as G-Cash and PayMaya is paramount. Thank you, BSP, for the swift action and response to the President’s order),” he said.

Inaasahan namin na makikiisa rin ang Facebook sa pagpapatigil ng e-sabong sa pamamagitan ng pag-block sa mga e-sabong accounts o pages (We hope that Facebook will also cooperate in stopping e-sabong by blocking e-sabong accounts or pages).,” he added.

Año said the BSP, through BSP Memorandum Circular 2022-026 released on May 27, 2022, directed BSFIs to only deal with gambling or online gaming businesses that are authorized by the government.

The BSP also directed BSFIs to inform their clients who still have remaining funds in their e-sabong accounts to transfer them back to their e-wallets within 30 days from the issuance of the memorandum, after which links to all e-sabong accounts and e-wallets, including e-sabong merchant operator accounts, will be disabled.

“This means that even if operators or bettors go underground, they cannot bet through G-Cash and Paymaya anymore,” said Año.

Sa tulong ng ating mga kapwa ahensiya ng pamahalaan, mawawakasan din natin ang mapinsalang e-sabong na nakasira na sa maraming pamilya sa ating bansa (With the help of our fellow government agencies, we can also put an end to the harmful e-sabong that has already damaged many families in our country),” he added.

During his May 2 Talk to the People program aired on May 3, President Duterte ordered a stop to all e-sabong operations following the DILG’s recommendation after the Department conducted a nationwide survey showing majority do not wish e-sabong ops to continue. The President cited e-sabong’s deleterious social impact, including gambling addiction and the disappearance of several cockfighting enthusiasts.

E-sabong on social media 

Meanwhile, DILG spokesperson Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya wrote Facebook requesting them to block several pages, groups and accounts encouraging people to play illegal e-sabong in all of its social media affiliates or subsidiaries

In his letter to Meta, Facebook’s parent organization, Malaya asked them to automatically ban from the Facebook platform and its affiliates and subsidiaries all Facebook pages, links and the like that operate or encourage people to do illegal e-sabong.

Malaya submitted to Meta Platforms, Inc. the list of seven FB pages, groups and accounts identified by the PNP Anti-Cyber Crime Group as catering to illegal e-sabong.

“We hope that Facebook will immediately suspend or block pages devoted to illegal sabong as fast as they suspend pages that allegedly violate their community standards. I presume that engaging in illegal activities is a violation of FB’s standards,” he said.

“We look forward to a fruitful cooperation, coordination, and collaboration on this matter in order to fully implement the ban on illegal e-sabong,” he added. (PR)