Corn farmers in Echague, Isabela are struggling with income loss as online cockfighting or e-sabong remains to be suspended in the Philippines. Earlier this year, then-president Duterte ordered all operations of e-sabong to cease immediately due to the rising social costs of the online betting sport.
Jay-ar Dagman, a farmer, stated that his animal feeds business had experienced drastic income cuts due to the ban on online cockfighting. “This is very hard for us especially since we have to buy fertilizers to grow our corn. The demand for animal feeds has gone down due to the suspension of e-sabong. We practically do now have any customers right now,” he said.
Due to the low demand, the prices of animal feeds are also expected to drop. Dagman fears that he, and other farmers, may experience prolonged revenue loss this year with the continued suspension of e-sabong operations.
At the height of e-sabong, the industry reportedly generated PHP 650 million per month in revenues for the state-run Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR). PAGCOR is projected to have a revenue loss of up to PHP 5 billion this year.
The e-sabong ban has impacted not only farmers’ lives but also the livelihood of about 3.2 million Filipinos who come from various businesses built around the gamefowl industry.