Information Agency of the Philippine Government Conducts Survey on E-Sabong

The Philippine Information Agency (PIA) announced that it is conducting research involving online cockfighting for “policy-making purposes.” Locally known as e-sabong, the online sport rose to prominence at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to health restrictions, mass gathering was not allowed and cockpits were then shut down. Cockfighting enthusiasts took to live streaming cockfights and betting was done on numerous online platforms.

Ramon Lee Cualoping III, PIA director general, required the agency’s regional offices to conduct a quick response survey on stakeholders’ experience and views on e-Sabong.

“As part of our agency’s research support for policy-making within the executive branch, all regional offices are hereby directed to conduct data gathering … on online E-Sabong,” said Cuapoling via a memorandum.

The survey questions include asking the respondent their region, province or city, gender, age, and educational attainment.

It also asks what best describes the respondent, with the following options to tick: game fowl farm owners or breeders; cockpit arena owner or operator; cockfighting derby organizer or promoter; bet taker, agents, employees/workers, including handlers, gaffers, referees, cock doctors, other personnel; and, bettors or players/sabongeros.

The survey also asks if the respondent is familiar or not with e-sabong.

According to the survey briefer, the answers “will be kept in strict confidence and all information collected will only be used for the purpose of the research.”

In May 2022, former president Rodrigo Duterte ordered a stop to online cockfighting due to rising crime rates.