DILG spox requests Meta to shut down e-sabong pages on Facebook
MANILA (2nd UPDATE) — The Department of the Interior and Local Government has closed down seven e-sabong websites operating illegally, saying more were being monitored as the gambling platform proliferated again despite President Rodrigo Duterte's ban order.
Interior Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the national police's anti-cybercrime team is probing who the websites' administrators are so they could file charges.
The police unit is also monitoring 12 websites and eight social media pages supposedly linked to online sabong operations.
"We are coordinating with the Department of Information and Communication Technology for these websites to be shut down," said Malaya in a statement on Wednesday.
"Of the 12 websites, only 2 were registered in the Philippines while the rest are located in other countries," it read.
The DILG also found out that there were Facebook groups promoting e-sabong operations and give access to users through links once interested cockfighters send them a message, Malaya said.
His agency appealed to Meta, Facebook's parent company, to delete the pages for online sabong since "minors are able to access the sites freely," the official said.
"Since the mode of payment and cash-out is through GCash and other platforms, they will also request the assistance of Globe in putting a stop to the use of their platform for illegal purposes," the agency's statement read.
"These illegal e-Sabong outfits are operating without licenses or franchises from the national or local governments and are not remitting a single peso in revenue to the state,” explained Malaya.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said at least 10 offshore e-sabong websites are still operating despite Duterte's order to stop online cockfighting operations.
He said they are coordinating with counterparts abroad to halt the operations of these illegal e-sabong websites.
"Sa ngayon ay tuloy-tuloy 'yung operasyon nila. Meron pa rin tayong magagawa diyan kasi meron naman tayong ugnayan sa ating mga counterparts abroad," Año told TeleRadyo on Wednesday.
"Pero ang mahirap kasi dito, 'yung pagtukoy mismo kasi magagaling din ‘tong nagsagawa ng website na 'to at meron silang tinatawag na confidential way kung paano maitago 'yung identity nila."
Some e-sabong websites operating locally have been reported by the police to the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, he said. Pagcor will then ask DICT to strike down the sites, he added.
"Pero 'yung mga betting station, sarado na lahat 'yan. At tayo ay nakikiusap sa mga kababayan natin na huwag nang tumaya dito sa mga e-sabong na'to," Año said.
Over the weekend, he ordered the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group and PNP units across the country to go after unregulated online cockfighting sites.
This, after Duterte earlier this month ordered killing e-sabong operations due to its negative social impact on Filipinos, even after repeatedly defending it due to the billions that it gives government in revenue.
At least 30 sabungeros have gone missing. Duterte blamed "evil men" for their disappearances.