If the Executive Department will not suspend or stop e-sabong, it must at least subject it to strict regulation to address its social costs, Sen. Panfilo “Ping” M. Lacson said.
Lacson said the social costs of e-sabong may be intangible but will cause major problems as Filipinos – from children to policemen – become addicted to it.
“At least man lang strict regulation. Huwag 24 hours (At least subject e-sabong to strict regulation. Making sure it does not operate 24 hours would be a start),” he said at a press conference in Maddela, Quirino Wednesday.
“Dapat mahigpit regulatory authority ng Pagcor (The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Authority should be strict in exercising its regulatory authority),” he added, noting the online nature of e-sabong makes it hard to monitor.
He added the social cost is too high, with overseas Filipino workers not being able to come home due to gambling debts or parents having to pay the debts their addicted children incur.
There have also been reports of people committing suicide due to e-sabong, and policemen robbing convenience stores to pay off debts, he added.
“Ito ang hindi tangible pero lumalabas na may nangyayaring actual problema sa e-sabong (These are not tangible but they show there is a problem with e-sabong),” Lacson said, adding the P1.6 billion in revenues a day come from ordinary Filipinos addicted to e-sabong.
Earlier, Lacson said there are many ways to generate much-needed revenues – including better implementation of tax laws, and revisiting existing laws like the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
He noted he had sought to introduce an amendment to the TRAIN law where more than 100 exemptions to the Value-Added Tax would be reduced – but was outvoted at the time.
Another way to generate the needed revenue is to digitalize all government processes and transactions, to ensure there is little room for human intervention – and corruption.