Former Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday urged different sectors, especially parents, teachers, and religious leaders, to oppose the legalization of e-sabong and other forms of online gambling.
In a media interview on December 15, 2021, Cayetano said speaking up against these vices is necessary to prevent them from spreading, especially among young people.
“Parents, teachers, mga pari, pastor, ministro, mga imam, we have to speak up para ‘di lumaganap ang bisyo na ito na makakasira sa ating mga values,” he said.
(Parents, teachers, priests, pastors, ministers, imams, we have to speak up so that we can stop the spread of vices that threaten to destroy our values.)
Cayetano said unlike offline or physical gambling, e-sabong and other forms of online gambling are difficult to regulate.
“Choice naman ng tao kung ano ang pastime niya, kung tingin niya y’ung pag-cacasino o pagtotong-its sa bahay o pagsasabong. Ang point ko lang po, whether you do it at home or sa casino or sa sabungan, may regulasyon ‘yan,” he said.
“‘Pag ‘yan (online gambling) po ay pinayagan ng lahat, imagine, pwedeng nasa eskwelahan ang anak mo, nagsusugal. Pwede y’ung nagtratrabaho ka, nagsusugal ka,” he added.
(Pastimes are personal choices, be it going to casinos or playing tong-its or betting in cockfighting. My point is that whether you do it at home or in a casino or a cockfighting arena, there are regulations. If we allow online gambling, imagine, your children could easily access these vices at school. You could access these vices at work.)
In September, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill that would grant the e-sabong outlet Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc. a 25-year legislative franchise.
Shortly after, the House Ways and Means panel approved a bill seeking to grant the Visayas Cockers Club Inc. a similar legislative franchise.
In the Senate, however, Cayetano found allies against e-sabong as Senator Grace Poe, chair of the Committee on Public Service, last week suspended the hearing on granting a 25-year franchise to Lucky 8 Star Quest.
Poe said she was inclined to have the bill go through a technical working group (TWG) that will examine not just the operations but the social ills the game creates.
Citing the social ills that come with online gambling, Cayetano said he is optimistic the public will resist efforts to promote and legalize these vices.
“I’m hoping that we come to a realization as a people na meron talaga tayong dapat ipagbawal,” Cayetano said.
(I’m hoping that we come to a realization as a people that there are things that we should really prohibit.)