President Duterte bared that he might come up with a decision by Monday, May 2, on whether or not the operations of online sabong will be allowed in the country.
"It's up for my signature," Duterte said during a site inspection of the Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) Hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga on Sunday, May 1.
"The recommendation is on my table now. Maybe by Monday, malaman natin kung ituloy o hindi (we'll see if it will be continued or not)," he added.
The President has again justified his reason for allowing the operations of e-sabong to continue as it is a large-income generating activity that would be key to the government's projects, especially in its healthcare system.
He said, if he can, he would gamble on it just so the government can have another source of money. But he said, he is also aware of the social problems evolving from e-sabong, such as addiction to gamble.
"The sole and only reason why I, we in the executive department, allowed it kasi ang (the) estimate ni (of PAGCOR chief) Ms. (Andrea) Domingo will help us something like P640 million a month, that would give us, at the end of the year, billions," Duterte said.
"Ako kung meron lang ganun susugal ako (For me, I would gamble), but there is apparently there is a social problem evolving sa pagpatakbo nitong (in the operations of) e-sabaong, so we have a problem there and we want to be fair to everybody but then again, we must study seriously or take into consideration yung (the) social issue," Duterte added.
"So nandiyan na ngayon (it's there now), by Monday we would know. Pag-aralan ko 'yan mamayang gabi (I will study that tonight), I will read it all over again and I would like to see the dimension of it all," he went on.
Touching on the issue of the missing sabungeros, the President also likened the operations of online cockfighting to the operations of illegal drugs in the country, where some police officers are also involved.
He even recalled his failed attempt to solve the country's drug problem in six months as what he had promised during the campaigns. He said he did not know that he would actually be up against the government, itself as police, including generals, the Customs, and other agencies are involved in the drug operations.
"Little did I realize na ang kalaban ko, ang gobyerno ko mismo (that I am up against the government, itself), mahirap yun (it's tough) to do something na mapaalis sila (to get rid of them) or retire early or get out of the service because you are part of the problem and maybe just maybe, you will be part of the solution," Duterte said.
Duterte was speaking at the site inspection of the OFW Hospital, which is currently under construction. The hospital is being constructed on a 1.5-hectare property donated by the Provincial Government of Pampanga.
It is expected to serve OFWs and their legal dependents once fully operational by the end of June 2022.
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo joined Duterte and other Cabinet members in the inspection.