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Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the 24 February 2022 Committee Hearing on the rising number of missing persons allegedly involved in "sabong" and "e-sabong"

PHILIPPINES, February 25 - Press Release February 25, 2022

Dispatch from Crame No. 1,223: Sen. Leila M. de Lima on the 24 February 2022 Committee Hearing on the rising number of missing persons allegedly involved in "sabong" and "e-sabong"

In the wake of an alarming surge in the number of missing persons involved in e-sabong, my colleagues called for immediate action and resolution of this controversy, nay, mystery in a Feb. 24 Senate hearing.

Kaisa ako sa mga kapwa ko Senador na nananawagan na hindi lamang imbestigahan ang mga kaganapan na pumapaligid sa isyung ito, kundi maging na rin ang aralin ang tunay na epekto ng e-sabong sa pamilyang Pilipino lalo na sa panahong ito na unti-unti pa lamang tayong bumabangon mula sa pandemya.

Hindi sikreto na marami sa mga Pilipinong pinadapa ng krisis ay kumapit na nga sa patalim at ginamit na panandalian at mabilisang pag-ahon sa kahirapan ang online talpakan. Maraming kwento na ng mga pamilyang nabaon sa utang dahil dito - mga padre de pamilya na isinanla ang tahanan at kabuhayan upang maka-taya, mga kabataang nalulong sa sugal.

When we talk about sabong and e-sabong, we also speak of the many ills that they contaminate society with. Nilalason nito ang mga Pilipino at pinapaniwalaang makikita sa sugal ang solusyon sa problema ng kahirapan.

And now, with many missing fathers, children, siblings and relatives, this controversial online gambling has now truly crossed the line. We now live in a society of anarchy - where people go missing, yet their friends and relatives are too afraid to approach the police out of fear. Fear of reprisal; and worse even - fear that the very people they seek refuge from may themselves be involved in these mysterious disappearances.

At the onset, gambling should not be promoted as a way of life for our countrymen. Gambling will not save us from poverty. It's quite the opposite, actually.

If our laws cannot control the operations of this e-sabong and protect our people from those who seek to operate beyond the bounds of the law, there is no reason to allow it to continue to operate. Thus, I join the proposed Resolution of Senate President Sotto to urge PAGCOR to suspend the license of e-sabong operators until we reach an acceptable conclusion on the cases of disappearances.

The safety and welfare of our people is paramount. No form of gambling should be worth the lives of Filipinos.

We cannot let this stand. Not for a minute longer. Panagutin ang dapat panagutin, at bigyan na ng sagot ang mga katanungan ng mga pamilyang nangungulila.

(Access the handwritten version, here: https://issuu.com/senatorleilam.delima/docs/dispatch_1223)