Philippine Authorities Make Final Appeal to Meta to Comply

Philippine Authorities Make Final Appeal to Meta to Comply

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) of the Philippines issued a statement Wednesday to warn Meta that its operations in the country should be compliant with all Philippine laws, rules and regulations at all times.

Ignoring the Request of Philippine Authorities

Speaking on behalf of DILG, the department’s Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya reminded Meta of its legal obligations while operating in the country, including the removal of Facebook pages, groups, accounts and sites which urge people to continue e-sabong despite it being illegal.

“We have submitted to them the list of Facebook pages, groups, accounts, and sites encouraging people to play illegal online sabong but despite official communication and public appeals, Meta Platforms has ignored the request of Philippine authorities.”

Jonathan Malaya, Undersecretary, DILG

In early May, during a regular address to the nation the then-President Duterte announced that the country would discontinue e-sabong and all venues across the country should close, effectively making the popular cockfighting illegal, outlining the devastating consequences of it in terms of murders and disappearances of people.

Since then, e-sabong continued on the black market despite the suspension of licenses of e-sabong venues by PAGCOR, and the regulator, in collaboration with the Philippine National Police, initiated a comprehensive plan on how to tackle the illegal fights.

As the first step of this plan, PAGCOR created a list of websites, social media pages, and campaigns that may be purposefully sharing information about illegal e-sabong contests.

Inaction Is Tantamount to Tolerating Illegal Activities

Despite the official notification sent to Meta, “the said accounts are still operational,” Malaya continued in the statement, outlining that the company is still in violation of the Presidential directive and the amended Cockfighting Law and did not even bother to respond to the request.

“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 illegal e-sabong is tantamount to tolerating illegal activity in their platform.”

Jonathan Malaya, Undersecretary, DILG

Malaya went further by stating that the inaction represents a violation of Facebook’s own community standards, besides the violation of Philippine Law: Meta should consider this notice as a final appeal to remove the said pages, groups, and accounts. He stopped short of threatening the social media giant with enforcement action, though.

DILG’s statement ended by asking the public support for its efforts to stop once and for all any form of illegal e-sabong on social media so that this “social menace that has destroyed the lives of many” is left in the past.