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Bishops back Duterte decision to stop e-sabong operations

The Manila Times logo The Manila Times 06/05/2022 Franco Jose C. BaroƱa

THE Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has expressed its support to President Rodrigo Duterte's decision to suspend online cockfighting or e-sabong.

According to Boac Marinduque Bishop and CBCP Episcopal Commission on Social Communication chairman Marcelino Antonio Maralit, President Duterte's decision shows concern for the families and individuals negatively affected by e-sabong.

"It means that he saw not only the so-called financial benefits, but also the many negative effects it has on the people who play it and those people around them including family, friends, co-workers or acquaintances as well as those within the government," Bishop Maralit said in a statement.

According to Maralit, addiction to gambling "will never do any good" and the tax benefit from e-cockfighting that the government receives "will not exceed the damage it has caused to society."

"It is no longer just a matter of economy and legality, if not it is also clearly a matter of morality and family. The negative effects it has and will have can never be outweighed by its supposed benefits," he said.

According to data released by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp., the government was able to collect around P3.69 billion from the gaming operations of eight e-sabong licensees from April to December 2021.

From January to March 15, 2022, there was a collection of around P1.37 billion from the operations of seven licensees.

The bishop said he prays that those addicted to gambling will rise from their fall and that those individuals involved in e-sabong who are reported missing will soon be found.

"As for the family members of those who are missing and allegedly abducted because of e-sabong, my prayer is that they will be found, that everything will be cleared and that the law will punish the perpetrators," said Maralit.

At least 34 individuals who have been linked to online cockfighting are still missing, according to the Philippine National Police.

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