The Tagbilaran City Council has passed an amendatory ordinance banning the conduct of online cockfighting or “e-sabong.”
The ordinance which was approved on third and final reading on Friday with no negative vote and abstention amended the 2007 Revised Code of Administrative Ordinances by listing “e-sabong” as among prohibited acts under illegal gambling.
According to Councilor Eliezer Borja, author of the amendatory measure, the ordinance was passed in accordance with the order of President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. to maintain the suspension of online cockfighting or “e-sabong” operations nationwide.
“Pa issuehon man niya [Marcos] ang mga city mayor ug ang mga barangay captain og certification of no existence of e-sabong,” said Borja, who chairs the Council’s Committee on Peace, Order and Public Safety.
The new measure prohibits the “operation, maintenance, and conduct” of online cockfighting.
E-sabong is usually done through live-streaming or broadcasting cockfights outside cockpits, cockfighting arenas, or other places where cockfights are held.
Those caught violating the ordinance will face a penalty of imprisonment for up to 15 days or a fine of P2,500, or both, depending on the court’s discretion.
“The penalty under the ordinance will not prejudice the imposition of a higher penalty under existing national laws for illegal gambling,” Borja said.
Borja noted that the measure was passed to prevent the negative consequences of online cockfighting, such as addiction and financial ruin.
E-sabong has been gaining popularity nationwide due to its easy access through mobile phones and other devices at any time and place as long as there is internet connection.
Currently, conduct of physical cockfighting which remains legal but tightly regulated is only allowed on Sundays and holidays.
“Para ni sa kaayuhan sa katawhan kay daghang storya na daghang nangabuang napud aning e-sabong, daghang pamilya ang ma guba kay sayon ra man gud. Naa ra ka sa bay makapusta na ka,” he added.
The legislator noted that the police will be conducting surveillance operations and will be coordinating with residents to detect the possible conduct of online cockfights.
So far, there have been no noted e-sabong operations in the city which broadcast live cockfights for online betting based on the monitoring of the Tagbilaran City Police Station.
In his Executive Order No. 9 issued on Dec. 28, Marcos said the continued prohibition is in accordance with the state’s “paramount obligation to protect public health and morals and promote public safety and general welfare.”
“There is an urgent need to reiterate the continued suspension of all e-sabong operations nationwide, clarify the scope of existing regulations, and direct relevant agencies to pursue aggressive crackdown against illegal e-sabong operations, in accordance with the law,” he said. (RT)