217 e-sabong sites blocked, taken down; PNP monitors over 270 more

A total of 217 websites and other online platforms catering to illegal operation of online cockfighting have been blocked and deactivated in the continuing campaign against online sabong, the Philippine National Police (PNP) disclosed on Monday, Jan. 30.

PNP chief Gen. Rodolfo Azurin, Jr. said they are now also coordinating with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in monitoring 272 other platforms that are being used in the guerrilla operations of online sabong.

The operation of online sabong in the country was ordered stopped by then president Rodrigo Duterte early last year over reports of addiction of bettors, that include policemen. The decision was further triggered with the cases of missing cockfighting players.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr. continuously implement the ban on online sabong operation.

Quoting PNP data, Azurin said a total of 102 platforms catering to e-sabong have either been blocked or taken down.

"A total of 76 other platforms were deleted or deactivated while 39 e-sabong websites and a Facebook page have been rendered inactive and out of service," said Azurin.

"It should be noted that e-sabong websites hosted outside the Philippines can only be blocked, not taken down, as these sites can continue to operate via virtual private networks," he explained.

Currently, he said the PNP is monitoring five active websites, and 272 other platforms that include 146 websites, 67 Facebook accounts, 31 Facebook groups, 18 Facebook pages and 10 mobile applications.

The aggressive campaign against online sabong, he said, also includes police operations.

In the past days, he said 28 more persons engaged in e-sabong games were arrested in Mandaluyong City, Lapu-Lapu City and Santiago City in Isabela.

"The PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group has recommended inclusion of e-sabong to illegal gambling activities penalized under Presidential Decree 1602; and sanctions against service providers that will fail to block or takedown e-sabong websites," said Azurin.