NOTE: THIS STORY WAS FIRST PUBLISHED IN THE BOHOL CHRONICLE’S SUNDAY PRINT EDITION.
Church leaders expressed alarm on the seemingly fast tracking of the bill to eventually legalize electronic sabong (cockfighting) or E-Sabong.
Archbishop Romulo Valles, former president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said that even if the E-Sabong is done on line “still it is gambling.”
The former CBCP official said it promotes the “gambling” mentality.
This promotes the attitude that it is alright to use much needed money in the family, among our many poor families, Archbishop Valles said.
Talibon Bishop Patrick Daniel Parcon, CBCP regional representative of Central-Eastern Visayas told the Chronicle he will verify if the CBCP meeting on Nov. 23 will tackle this as urgent when he questioned why the House and the Senate, both seem in a hurry to legalize E-Sabong.
He said “any gambling for me is unacceptable. Pati mga minor manabong na. I heard even as early as grade six mag online na. Addictive man god nang online gaming.”
Bishop Antonietto Cabahug, former CBCP secretary general said that the church remains strongly against any form of gambling. He recalled during his stint as secretary general, CBCP went all out against the Small Town Lottery (STL).
“Gambling money should come from excess, not to fuel swerte mentality to use money for rice and groceries hoping to win and get more. Instead the loss makes one poorer,” Cabajug said.
The church official called the government to generate more jobs and other means to alleviate the plight of the poor.
“Poverty should be solved with economic means, not gambling, he said.
Bishop Alberto Uy of the Diocese of Tagbilaran said Online Sabong is worse than Sunday Sabong because this is done on a daily basis, open to all (no restrictions of age), and makes betting easy. This will encourage young people to gamble, and since they don’t have earnings yet, they will be tempted to steal from their parents or elders at home.
“Online Sabong will wreck families, incite crimes, and corrupt society. Reportedly, many young people and overseas workers are already addicted to it. You can just imagine how many families will be seriously disturbed by this form of gambling,” Bishop Uy likewise said soon families will be broken because of gambling addiction citing that this online sabong will be a big moral catastrophe to our country.
Another Boholano bishop assigned in Borongan, Samar reiterated that the church is strongly opposing the move to legalize online sabong.
“Daghan mga tawo napuno sa utang tungod sa online sabong. Ang uban nakadevelop ug addiction sa online sabong while daghang familia naguba tungod sa online sabong” Bishop Varquez stressed.
The call of the church leaders reached the Chronicle as reports said the House Committees on Legislative Franchises and on Ways and Means are prioritizing the passage of a bill facilitating electronic sabong when they should be finding ways to maximize the government’s pandemic response.
Meanwhile, Angelo Palmones of AGHAM was referring to House Bill (HB) No.10199, or the proposed “Act granting Lucky 8 Star Quest Inc. a franchise to operate offsite betting activities on duly-licensed cockfighting, derbies, and other similar activities through online or other modern means, anywhere in the Philippines.
The two House panels recently gave separate approvals to the measure, which served as a substitute bill for HB Nos.7096 and 9834.
But beyond the surface of the e-sabong measure’s non-timely passage are more eyebrow-raising details, Palmones said. He noted that Lucky 8 is a company owned by ex-convict Charlie “Atong” Ang.