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‘Mahirap kapag nasira ang pamilya’: Lani Cayetano asks Congress not to rush e-sabong franchise approval

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By Billy Begas

Taguig City Rep. Lani Cayetano has urged her colleagues in Congress to move “more slowly” in granting legislative franchises to operators of e-sabong.

At the same time, Cayetano called on the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) to strengthen its regulations on e-sabong to minimize the adverse consequences of the said vice.

“Mahirap po kapag nasira ang pamilya. Kung nakikita namin na medyo magiging delikado sa pamilyang Pilipino, tungkulin namin na maging vocal tungkol dito at ipahayag namin ang aming oposisyon,” Cayetano said.

Cayetano said affected families have visited her office to report addiction and debt among their relatives.

In September, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading the measure granting a 25-year franchise to Lucky 8 Star Quest, Inc., to operate nationwide.

In the Senate, Senator Grace Poe, chairperson of the Committee on Public Service, suspended the hearing for the franchise of Lucky 8 Star Quest.

The House Committee on Legislative Franchise also approved the measure granting a similar franchise to Visayas Cockers Club Inc.

While traditional sabong is part of Filipino culture, Cayetano said e-sabong is more accessible and addictive, with young people and overseas Filipino workers having easy access to its gambling platforms.

Cayetano’s husband, former Speaker and incumbent Taguig-Pateros Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano, earlier urged different sectors, especially parents, teachers, and religious leaders, to oppose the legalization of e-sabong and other forms of online gambling.

He said unlike offline or physical gambling, e-sabong and other forms of online gambling are difficult to regulate.

“‘Pag ‘yan po ay pinayagan ng lahat, imagine, pwedeng nasa eskwelahan ang anak mo, nagsusugal. Pwede ‘yung nagtratrabaho ka, nagsusugal ka,” he added.