Former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday welcomed House Deputy Speaker Bro. Eddie Villanueva’s call on Congress to junk measures legalizing online cockfighting, saying allowing e-sabong will only cause more social and economic problems than solutions for the country.
“The economy may rake in millions from e-sabong now, but at what cost? Many families will go bankrupt, and this will lead to a host of other problems,” Cayetano said.
On Monday, the House Committee on Ways and Means approved House Bill No. 10204 which aims to grant Visayas Cockers Club, Inc. a 25-year franchise to operate off-site betting stations anywhere in the country.
If the bill gets passed on third and final reading, Visayas Cockers Club Inc. will be the second licensed e-sabong operator in the country to be granted a 25-year franchise, following Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc. whose franchise was approved last September.
Calling it “detrimental to Philippine society,” Villanueva criticized online gambling for its negative effects on Filipino communities.
He listed some of the “harrowing effects” of online gambling, such as emotional stress, less time for family, increased consumption of alcohol, relationship conflicts, reduced or study performance, bankruptcy, and even suicide.
Villanueva said Congress should not allow the “evil” of online gambling, such as e-sabong, to enter Filipino homes unregulated, unmonitored, and uncontrolled.
Cayetano, for his part, said the revenue being generated by digital cockfighting is not worth the lives of the youth and the “destruction of our society’s moral fiber.”
“What our people need are jobs and livelihood opportunities, not encouragement to waste what little money they have left, fall into massive debts, and destroy their families,” he said.
Cayetano cited the case of Erick John Suelto, a 19-year-old student in Maco, Davao de Oro who was arrested on November 3, 2021 for failing to pay off his debt from e-sabong amounting to P561,000.
“Let’s not wait for more people to get addicted to gambling and fall into debt. Let’s protect our fellow Filipinos, especially our youth,” he said.