PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte ordered Monday, May 2, the stoppage of “e-sabong” (online cockfight betting) operations as per recommendation of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In his Talk to the People Address Monday night, Duterte said DILG Secretary Eduardo Año recommended the stoppage of e-sabong operations after conducting a survey and validating reports from several sources.

"The recommendation of Secretary Año is to do away with e-sabong... So, since it's his recommendation and I agreed with it and it's good, so e-sabong will end by tonight (Monday night)," Duterte said.

The President said he directed Año to conduct a survey to determine the social impact of e-sabong after receiving several objections from a number of people.

“So ginawa ni Sec. Año yung trabaho nya and he reported and validated yung naririnig ko. Yung amin naman sana, buwis lang ang hinabol namin rito. P640 million is P640 million,” Duterte said.

(Secretary Año reported and validated what I have been hearing. What we are after e-sabong is the P640-million revenue that the government is getting from it.)

Calls to stop the e-sabong operations started early this year due to reports about missing cockfight betting enthusiasts.

The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs filed in February a resolution urging Duterte to order the suspension of e-sabong operations until the cases of 34 missing sabungeros are resolved.

Duterte, however, ordered the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to conduct an in-depth investigation on the missing sabungeros.

In March, Duterte said his primary reason for not stopping the e-sabong is money, stressing that the government gets P640 million a month from its operations.

Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) chairperson Andrea Domingo also earlier expressed apprehension in the suspension, noting that it may incur billions worth of lost revenue for the government.

Duterte on Monday, however, said that after hearing loud and clear the complaints and DILG’s reports, he agreed that that e-sabong “was working against our values and yung impact sa pamilya pati sa tao.”

“Eh ang labas di na natutulog yung sabungero 24 hours (What happens is some bettors are not sleeping 24 hours because of e-sabong),” he said.

“I leave it to Sec. Año to impose it because the PNP (Philippine National Police) is under the DILG...It is immediate,” he added.

Duterte said unlike lotto, e-sabong is creating a problem for the government and the ordinary Filipino.