MANILA – A Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) official on Wednesday said their legal team is studying its next action if illegal e-sabong operations in the Facebook (FB) account Meta continue.

DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said they 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.

“Lahat po ng uri ng sabong na labas sa PD 449 ay illegal (All kinds of cockfighting outside PD 449 are illegal),’’ Malaya said.

He said the DILG has sent a formal letter to Meta, the FB operator in the country, informing them of the FB accounts and FB pages of e-sabong operators that entice the public to bet on the unlawful gambling.

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.

“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 separate statement.

“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.

He noted that FB has yet to reply to the DILG’s request.

Being a business entity operating in local shores, Malaya said FB 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. (PNA)