DILG’s ‘final appeal’ to Meta: Shut down e-sabong pages on Facebook

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) issued on Wednesday, June 1, a final appeal to Meta Platforms Inc. to immediately remove Facebook pages that cater to illegal online sabong (cockfighting) operations.

In a statement, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya also urged the public to support the ban on all forms of illegal e-sabong on social media to end the ‘social menace’ that it has caused many families.

As of June 1, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya noted that the department has yet to receive a response to the letter it sent a week ago to Meta, Facebook's parent company concerning the illegal e-sabong networks on the social platform.

“We wish to remind Meta Platforms, Inc. that as a business entity operating in the Philippines, they are subject to Philippine laws, rules, and regulations and must comply with them at all times,’’ Malaya stressed.

In May, President Duterte ordered the suspension of online sabong after a survey conducted by the DILG recorded its negative social impact, specifically gambling addiction and the disappearance of around 30 cockfighting enthusiasts.

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. (Chito A. Chavez)