By Azer Parrocha

(File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has issued an executive order (EO) directing the continued suspension of electronic sabong or e-sabong operations nationwide.

Marcos signed EO No. 9 on Dec. 28 to ensure the state’s “paramount obligation to protect public health and morals, and to promote public safety and general welfare.”

“There is an urgent need to reiterate the continued suspension of all e-sabong operations nationwide, clarify the scope of existing regulations and direct relevant agencies to pursue aggressive crackdown against illegal e-sabong operations, in accordance with law,” the EO read.

Under the EO, live-streaming or broadcasting of live cockfights outside cockpits or cockfighting arenas or premises where cockfights are being held will be suspended.

EO 9 also suspends online/remote, or off-cockpit wagering/betting on live cockfighting matches and/or activities streamed or broadcast live, regardless of the location of the betting platform.

The operations of traditional cockfights authorized or licensed under existing laws shall not be covered by the suspension.

EO 9 also tasked the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to coordinate with local government units (LGUs), other concerned government agencies and private entities on the implementation of the order.

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) are also directed to render necessary assistance to PAGCOR in the implementation of the order and shall take appropriate action against violators, in accordance with law.

The PAGCOR, in coordination with the DILG and PNP, is further tasked to submit regular reports to the President through the Office of the Executive Secretary.

Former President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the end of online cockfighting operations known as e-sabong on May 3 this year in the wake of the disappearance of at least 34 sabungeros or e-sabong aficionados in the country who all remain missing until now.

Major operators of e-sabong already stopped the operations. However, a number of small groups and individuals continue to use the online platform for cockfighting betting.

To date, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) has already filed cases to at least 15 personalities in connection with the missing sabungeros. (PNA)