Duterte open to suspending e-sabong over possibly 'very serious' addiction problem in PH

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 31) — President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday said he will only order the suspension of e-sabong or online cockfighting operations if the betting game is found to have become a "very serious" problem for Filipinos.

Duterte has repeatedly rejected senators' appeal to halt e-sabong amid the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of over 30 cockfight enthusiasts who have been missing since April last year.

The President, however, took note of reports of addiction problems among several Filipinos, some of whom have been mired in huge debt. He added even students are reportedly hooked on the game.

"Just study if it is true na [that] it's getting to be a very serious problem for the Filipino," Duterte said in an event in Lapu-Lapu City.

"Tignan natin, sabi ko. Pag-aralan muna natin. Then kung totoo 'yan, hintuin ko 'yan [Let's see, I said. Let's assess first. If it is true, I will suspend e-sabong operations]," he added.

According to Duterte, the government stands to lose around ₱640 million a month if online cockfighting activities are suspended. He reiterated the country cannot afford this much loss in the middle of a pandemic.

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