THE DEPARTMENT of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday asked Meta Platforms, Inc., Facebook’s parent company, to delete or suspend pages that promote online cockfighting after it shut down seven illegal online cockfighting websites last week.
“We wish to remind Meta Platforms, Inc. that as a business entity operating in the Philippines, they are subject to Philippine laws, rules and regulations and must comply with them at all times, “Interior Undersecretary Jonathan E. Malaya said in a statement.
He said they have submitted a list of Facebook pages, groups and accounts that promote the multibillion cockfighting industry, but Meta had yet to respond.
The agency shut down seven websites amid a state crackdown on the practice. It said police and the Department of Information and Communications Technology have been closely watching cyber-space for illegal gambling operations.
The police’s Anti-CyberCrime Group was monitoring 12 other websites and eight social media platforms that were operating illegally.
“Their continued inaction on the request of this department, the Philippine National Police and other government agencies to take down pages, accounts, and other links encouraging people to patronize these operations is tantamount to tolerating illegal activity,” Mr. Malaya said of Meta.
This was also a violation of its own community standards, he added.
Six of 10 Filipinos wanted online cockfighting operations to be outlawed, DILG said, citing a poll.
President Rodrigo R. Duterte has ordered the closure of online cockfighting operations in the country, citing the ill effects of gambling.
Experts have said that Mr. Duterte’s decision to stop these operations might force operators to go underground.
The Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. estimated revenues from online cockfighting averaged P400 million monthly last year and P640 million a month since January.
“We also ask the public to support the ban on all forms of these operations on social media so that we can finally put a stop to this social menace that has destroyed the lives of so many of our countrymen,” Mr. Malaya said.
Online cockfighting gained popularity during the coronavirus pandemic, as Filipinos only needed to place bets using their mobile phones.
The Senate earlier launched an investigation for the suspension of the operations after reports of the disappearance of 30 people allegedly involved in online cockfighting. — John Victor D. Ordoñez