The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) revealed on Wednesday, May 25 that several illegal online sabong operations were shut down while similar other websites are being thoroughly investigated.
DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the Philippine National Police (PNP) Anti-CyberCrime Group is now undertaking investigations on the administrators of these websites that will enable them to file charges against the responsible groups.
“These criminals thrive on the anonymity of the internet and they are taking advantage of this but the PNP together with our colleagues from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will not rest until they have been unmasked,” Malaya said.
Malaya added that the PNP is doing “cyber-patrolling operations to find websites, applications, and social media platforms that are operating illegally despite the directive of the President.’’
“Another 12 websites and eight social media platforms were monitored by the PNP Anti-CyberCrime Group to be operating illegally and we are coordinating with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) for these websites to be shut down,” he said. Of the 12 websites, only 2 were registered in the Philippines while the rest are located in other countries,’’ he added.
The DILG spokesperson noted that authorities have also discovered several Facebook pages and groups that are promoting e-sabong that will give you a link when you send a message to them.
“Once you open the link, you will be able to register and create an account to log-in. It’s very easy to register so even minors are able to access the sites freely,” Malaya said.
Malaya disclosed that they have also requested Meta, the company that runs Facebook, to immediately delete or suspend the pages in Facebook devoted to e-sabong.
Since the mode of payment and cash-out is through G-cash and other platforms, Malaya disclosed that they will also request the assistance of Globe Telecom in putting a stop to the use of their platform for illegal purposes.
These illegal e-sabong outfits are operating without licenses or franchises from the national or local governments and are not remitting a single peso in revenue to the state,” Malaya said as he asked for the public’s help in putting a stop to its illegal operations.
“We urge the public to immediately contact your nearest police station if you know where the studios of these illegal e-Sabong operations are so we can put a stop to it. If you also know who the operators are, please contact your nearest police station or CIDG office,” he said.
He also warned the public that it’s a risk to bet on these on-line platforms because it’s unregulated and you are never sure if you will be paid your winnings at the end of the day.
“Dahil illegal po ito, hindi n’yo po alam kung saan napupunta ang inyong pera or kung may dayaan (Since this is illegal, you do not know where your bets are going to or if there is any cheating involved),” Malaya stressed.
Through its regional and field offices, the DILG earlier conducted a survey with respondents in every city and municipality across the country.
A total of 8,463 respondents answered the online sentiment survey of the DILG from April 19-20, 2022 to gauge public perceptions of e-Sabong and to provide the President with a basis for his decision on the fate of e-sabong.
Based on the survey results, 62 percent or a majority of those surveyed want to put a stop to e-sabong, which became prominent during the community quarantine in the last two years of the pandemic, 34 percent want it to continue but with tighter regulation, while four percent completely support it.
The reasons cited by the respondents for opposing e-sabong include addiction to gambling, bankruptcy of players, indebtedness, cost to family, neglect of work and studies, and crime.
Malaya also pointed out that while only 21 years and above shall be allowed to play e-sabong, “the reality is people, regardless of age, have become addicted to the game. Reports from the communities revealed that persons ages 20 and below are able to bet due to laxity in the registration process of e-sabong.’’ (Chito A. Chavez)