PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is not keen on suspending the operations of e-sabong (electronic or online cockfighting), citing the billions in revenue that the government generates from it.

In his pre-recorded public address aired Wednesday morning, Duterte said Congress will understand his position when they see how much revenue the government gets from e-sabong.

The Senate has transmitted to Malacañang and the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) its resolution calling for the suspension of e-sabong operations in the country.

The resolution was brought about by the disappearance of more than 30 "sabungeros" or cockfighters.

"Ang appeal ko sa mga congressman, 'wag na lang ninyo anuhin 'yan. Kumikita 'yan (I appeal to congressmen, leave it alone. It's earning)," Duterte said.

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"Mamimili ako ngayon na mawala yung income mo by the billions. Sayang, eh (I have to choose if we should lose billions of income. That would be a waste)," he added.

Pagcor chief Andrea Domingo said they tallied P3.69 billion in income from eight e-sabong licensees from April to December last year.

She said that P1.37 billion was collected from the operations of seven licensees from January to March 15 this year.

Domingo projected that income from e-sabong would reach P7.2 billion in 2022.

Duterte said that he is against gambling in general but that the government needs the money.

"That is all there is to it," he said.

"Nakikinabang ang gobyerno, pero ang yayaman nito yung mga operators (The government benefits from it, but it's the operators who will get rich)," he added.

The President said even though Pagcor has always been transparent in its operations, he suggested bringing the money derived from e-sabong operations directly to the Bureau of Treasury to quell suspicions of corruption.

Duterte said that e-sabong needs to be regulated to prevent minors from betting.

The President lamented the disappearance of sabungeros (cockfighters) and other people involved in the said gambling activity.

"It's up to law enforcement to resolve it. Hindi ko sinasabi na nandoon sila sa (I'm not saying they are involved in) fixing. We cannot dwell on other suspicions because the nearest, really, that can happen is game-fixing," he said.

Last week, Duterte gave the Philippine National Police and the National Bureau of Investigation 30 days to conduct a thorough investigation on the disappearance of cockfighting enthusiasts.