MANILA – President Rodrigo R. Duterte on Tuesday apologized to the public for realizing “very late” the downside of initially allowing e-sabong operations in the country.
“‘Yung e-sabong, I’m sorry, I did not really realize that it would be like,” he said after inspecting the main campus of the National Academy of Sports in New Clark City in Capas, Tarlac.
Duterte admitted that he initially hesitated to stop e-sabong operations because it generated PHP640 million in revenues per month.
“I realized very late and I am very sorry that it had to happen. Hindi ko akalain na ganoon, hindi naman ako nagsusugal (I did not expect it to be that way). I do not gamble, I do not drink anymore, only water,” he added.
Duterte said e-sabong created “disorder” and inflicted “pain” in society because it caused families to fall apart.
“‘Pag na-dysfunctional, sige away. Maghiwalay ‘yan. Ito ang segue ng babae. ‘Pag nag-away ‘yan, gulo na ang pamilya, maghiwalay, ang mga bata… (If they become dysfunctional, they fight. They split up. When they fight, the family will be in chaos. They will split up, and the kids…),” he said.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) projected a revenue loss of up to PHP5 billion from e-sabong activities for 2022.
Duterte stopped e-sabong operations in May in the wake of the still-unresolved disappearance of some e-sabong aficionados in the country.
He cited reports on how some aficionados were sleep-deprived because they were getting addicted to online cockfighting.
Senators earlier urged Duterte to suspend the license to operate of e-sabong operators and immediately stop all related activities until the cases of the 31 missing cockfighting aficionados are resolved.
However, the President rejected their calls since the government was earning billions of pesos from the betting game.
He instead asked Congress to regulate the operations of e-sabong by issuing a legislative franchise. (PNA)