A SENATE committee said on Monday that it is considering a bill that will restrict online cockfighting, known as e-sabong, to Sundays and holidays.
“There is a need to craft a law regulating the e-sabong industry which includes, among others, limiting e-sabong operations to Sundays and legal holidays,” Senator Ronald M. Dela Rosa, who chairs the Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee, said during the hearing.
The bill also hopes to clarify the powers and functions of government agencies regulating e-sabong, the tax regime for operators and agents, and calls for the installation of CCTV cameras at betting stations and the cockfighting venue, he added.
At the hearing, Senator Francis N. Tolentino, who chairs the Senate local government committee, said the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (PAGCOR) should not allow e-sabong to operate during religious holidays.
He said he has received reports that Pitmasters Live, the e-sabong operator run by Charlie Ang, who is known in the gaming trade as “Atong,” conducted business on Good Friday, logging more than 200 matches.
“There was a gross violation of our faith. I don’t know why it was done,” he said, adding that “PAGCOR slept on its job” of regulating gambling operations.
Mr. Tolentino said it will take weeks or months to draft legislation that will be left to the 19th Congress which balances the need for tax revenue while respecting religion.
The legislators also proposed a Know-Your-Customer policy currently observed by banks that will apply during the registration stage of the e-sabong account which will also monitor how the account is used, citing the need to keep minors from betting on online cockfights.
“Our intent is that with the implementation of our recommendations, we could prevent the repeat of these untoward incidents and with the help of our national police and the Department of Justice, we would be able to have those involved in the crime accountable and give justice to the victims and their families,” Mr. Dela Rosa said. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan