125 Luzon Mayors Appeal to Philippine President to Stop E-Sabong Revival Plans

Around 125 mayos in the seven chapters of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP) in Luzon have appealed to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to retain the suspension order on e-sabong or online sabong. This comes after rumors of the game’s revival.

The LMP chapters in Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Zambales, and Sorsogon provinces, joined by the city governments of Angeles and Mabalacat in Pampanga, have asked the President “not to allow the reintroduction” of online cockfighting through separate resolutions passed last month.

In 2022, former President Duterte suspended e-sabong. President Marcos then directed the continued suspension through Executive Order No. 9 in December 2022. The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) implemented both orders. Any e-sabong licenses and operations that were established before the directives have been considered illegal since the ban, according to Pagcor.

In the resolutions, the mayors stated that they opposed the revival of the activity after they received information that “certain personalities associated with a group that profited immensely from the past e-sabong operations are poised to reintroduce online sabong.”

The mayors did not identify those pushing for the comeback but confirmed that they learned of the plan from what they described as “highly reliable sources” in Congress and Pagcor.

The external communications arm of Pagcor confirmed that “there were those who wrote to appeal the lifting of suspension during the time of [Mr. Marcos].” Pagcor further explained, “But Pagcor no longer acted on the request as the e-sabong department was dissolved.”

A part of the LMP Pampanga resolution stated, “To recall, His Excellency ordered the continued suspension of e-sabong because of a growing public outrage against its continued operation following reports of widespread addiction to online gambling; bankruptcy, and heavy indebtedness of players that oftentimes led to [the] breakdown of families, sometimes to suicide.”

It said the social impact included “impoverishment and distraction of our overseas Filipino workers, and the rise in the incidence of crimes, culminating in the revelation about several missing ‘sabungeros’ who, up to now, are unaccounted for.”