Philippine leader President Rodrigo Duterte (pictured in a file photo) has ordered the “immediate termination” of the country’s cockfighting contest licences relating to events presented online and known locally as “E-sabong” betting business, reported on Tuesday the official Philippine News Agency.
The government had been able to collect around PHP3.69 billion (US$70.5 million) from the gaming operations of eight E-sabong licensees from April 2021 to December that year, according to the data released by the country’s casino and gaming regulator, the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp (Pagcor).
From January to March 15 this year, around PHP1.37 billion in aggregate was collected from the operations of seven licensees, said the news agency.
Calls for the suspension of the sector came following a series of alleged abductions and disappearances of people linked to it.
More than 20 senators from the upper house of the country’s congress had signed a resolution urging Pagcor to suspend E-sabong licences and stop all related activities until the cases of 31 missing people – described as “cockfighting aficionados” – had been resolved.
It was “loud and very clear to me” that the sector “was working against our values,” the president was cited as saying, in justification of the ban.
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