PIA conducts survey on controversial e-Sabong

Because mass gathering is not allowed under community quarantines due to COVID-19, cockfighting enthusiasts in Cagayan de Oro City have found a way to bet through e-sabong or online cockfighting, involving only a maximum of five persons, one of them taking the video of the fight. MindaNews file photo by ROEL CATOTO

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 01 December) — The Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the information arm of the Philippine government, is conducting a research involving the controversial e-Sabong, or online betting on live cockfighting matches, for “policy-making purposes.”

Ramon Lee Cualoping III, PIA director general, required the agency’s regional offices to conduct a quick response survey on stakeholders’ experience and views on e-Sabong.

“As part of our agency’s research support for policy-making within the executive branch, all regional offices are hereby directed to conduct data gathering … on online E-Sabong,” Cualoping said in a memorandum obtained by MindaNews.

In May 2022, former President Rodrigo Duterte ordered a stop to online cockfighting, noting it was working against Filipino values and that it had destroyed families whose members were addicted to e-Sabong.

Duterte said he had heard stories of people pawning their possessions so they could bet on online cockfighting.

Months before, the Senate recommended the suspension of e-Sabong following an investigation into the disappearance of at least 30 cockfight enthusiasts since April 2021.

The PIA survey kicked off last Tuesday last week, 29 November. Here is the survey link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfJA-3uFRegH5O-ddSoHDsyAWcSuuTVshFxjAdTrK0aWzzQ_w/viewform?usp=sf_link

The survey will end at 3 p.m. on December 5, Monday.

According to a survey briefer, the answers “will be kept in strict confidence and all information collected will only be used for the purpose of the research.”

The survey involves asking the region, province or city where the respondents reside, gender, age and educational attainment.

It also asks what best describes the respondent, with the following options to tick: game fowl farm owners or breeders; cockpit arena owner or operator; cockfighting derby organizer or promoter; bet taker, agents, employees / workers, including handlers, gaffers, referees, cock doctors, other personnel; and, bettors or players / sabongeros.

The survey also asks if the respondent is familiar or not with e-Sabong.

The PIA-Soccsksargen confirmed receiving the directive from the central office on Thursday. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)