Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Philippines’ Duterte vows to ban online cockfighting



Philippines’ Duterte vows to ban online cockfighting

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A cockfighting in Barangay San Roque outsides of Manila. AFP

Philippines’ Duterte vows to ban online cockfighting

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has vowed to ban online cockfighting following outcry over the industry sparked by the disappearance of dozens of workers and concerns about the social costs of gambling.

Cockfighting is a popular sport in the Southeast Asian nation, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced the closure of traditional arenas where spectators flock to watch roosters wearing bladed spurs fight to the death.

The government instead granted franchises to seven firms to show the bloody contests and take bets online – known as “e-sabong” – 24 hours a day.

Duterte had previously rejected calls to stop the practice, noting that the roughly 640 million pesos ($12 million) in monthly taxes from the industry were helping to replenish government coffers depleted by the pandemic.

But in a recorded television address aired Tuesday, weeks before he leaves office, Duterte said “e-sabong will end by tonight”.

Interior Secretary Eduardo Ano had advised Duterte to ban it due to its “social impact”.

“This is his recommendation and I agree with it and it is good,” Duterte said.

A presidential palace official told AFP Tuesday that a ban had not yet been issued.

Online cockfighting came under scrutiny this year after the alleged kidnapping and suspected murder of 34 people who had supplied roosters to a licenced e-sabong operator.

Senator Ronald dela Rosa, a Duterte ally who chaired a public hearing into the sport in March, said the victims were suspected of sabotaging the roosters so they would lose their fights. They would then bet on the other roosters.

Online cockfight operators told the hearing that about three billion pesos were bet on cockfights in the Philippines every day.

The easy availability of e-sabong platforms also fuelled unease as reports emerged of fans becoming addicted to gambling, neglecting their work and families, and pawning assets for bets.

In one extreme case, a young Manila mother was accused of selling her eight-month-old daughter for about 45,000 pesos to a buyer she contacted through social media in March to pay off e-sabong debts.

Police said the girl was later found and the buyer arrested.

Traditional cockfighting operators have also been wary of the online version, which they said had effectively cornered all the money generated by the sport.

“Most of the other cockpit operators were unable to earn anything for more than two years already,” Alfredo Lamoste, a Manila-based pit manager, told AFP recently.

Spokespeople for e-sabong operators could not be reached for comment.

MOST VIEWED

  • Historic Battambang town bans billboards

    The Battambang town administration informed all house and business owners in Svay Por commune to remove all billboards by August 1 as it is preparing to submit the town to UNESCO for inclusion on its historical cultural heritage list. Its July 25 notice said all signage was

  • All foreigners' accommodations to be inspected: Sar Kheng

    The Ministry of Interior is undertaking a serious effort to inspect all the accommodations of foreigners in Cambodia – except diplomats – in order to find and identify human traffickers. Minister Sar Kheng said this would include inspections on the homes of foreigners employed by businesses, private

  • Ice cream, noodles flagged over carcinogen

    The General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia (GDCE) has identified three types of instant noodles and ice cream trademarks originating from Thailand, Vietnam and France that are suspected to contain ethylene oxide, which poses a cancer risk to consumers. The general department has

  • Exclusive interview with Josep Borrell Fontelles, High Representative of the EU

    CAMBODIA is hosting the 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and Related Meetings this week with top officials from the US, China, and Russia and other countries in the region slated to attend and to meet with face-to-face with their counterparts on the sidelines. In

  • Rise in Thai air routes to Siem Reap fuels travel hopes

    Local tourism industry players are eager for regional airline Bangkok Airways Pcl’s resumption of direct flight services between the Thai capital and Siem Reap town on August 1 – home of Cambodia’s awe-inspiring Angkor Archaeological Park – which is expected to boost the growth rate of

  • ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ meet commences, Taiwan issue possibly on table

    The 55th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM) and related meetings hosted by Cambodia kicks off in Phnom Penh on August 3, with progress, challenges, and the way forward for the ASEAN Community-building on the table. Issues on Taiwan, sparked by the visit of US House Speaker