President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday came to the defense of e-sabong operations, saying they generate billions of income for a government short in money.
In his “Talk to the People” address, Duterte said he made the same justification for Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations (POGOs).
“Mamimili ako ngayon na mawala ‘yung income mo by the billions, opisina man ‘yan at allowing it… Sayang e. Wala tayong pera. We’re short of money. Kaya ako pumayag na pati sa POGOs,” he said.
The Senate recommended the suspension of e-sabong in the country after more than 30 individuals went missing allegedly due to cockfighting.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III even said Duterte had supported the Senate’s recommendation.
Duterte has ordered the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the disappearances of the “sabungeros,” and his office said operations of e-sabong licensees shall remain unaffected, pending the result of the above investigations.
“The only reason is sabi ko nga because it gives income to government. That’s all there is to it para sa amin dito. Iyon ang ano ko. Iyong POGO, sabi ko sige basta magbayad lang. Kaya ito ngayon, malaki man ang kita natin,” he said.
Closing down legal e-sabong operations would lead to the emergence of illicit operations, he added.
“Ngayon, whether sabihin ko isara ko itong e-sabong, ipapalit naman ‘yung mga illegal. Ganoon rin,” the president said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro