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Delta mobilizes Bantay Bayan to help stop e-sabong, illegal drugs 

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO — Gov. Dennis “Delta” Pineda on Wednesday ordered Bantay Bayan members in the province’s 505 barangays to help in the campaign against the comeback of online sabong and illegal drugs.

Governor Pineda sought the support of the 6,468 watchmen who attended the briefing on the “Implementation of Protocols for Safe Communities and Campaign against Illegal Drugs” at the Bren Z. Guiao Convention Center here on Dec. 14.

The governor urged support from the provincial government, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor), Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency and the Philippine National Police.

He tapped the Bantay Bayan volunteers amid verified reports of unauthorized online sabong operations in the City of San Fernando and other towns despite Pagcor’s cease order to authorized permit-holders in April 2022 on order of then President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Mr. Duterte ordered the Pagcor to prohibit the game in light of its social impact, especially on minors who were able to gamble online.

Ang online sabong sa barangay, bawal. Pwede niyong ireport sa pulis o hulihin sinuman na nag-ooperate sa mga barangay ninyo,” Governor Pineda said.

He warned Bantay Bayan against protecting online sabong operators, adding that protectors would meet with the strong force of the law. 

As of Wednesday, he said he and Vice Governor Lilia Pineda have not authorized any company to operate online sabong in the province. Pagcor has not informed the provincial government that it has allowed the resumption of the game.

Governor Pineda also emphasized the big role of Bantay Bayan in keeping peace and order, as the current ratio in the province stood at one cop for 1,600 citizens. Citing PDEA’s data, about 110 barangays have yet to be cleared of illegal drugs such as shabu (meth) and marijuana.

Hinihingi ko po ang tulong niyo para tuluyan na natin masugpo ang drugs. Hindi po ito kayang mag-isa ng mga kapulisan. Kailangan namin ng impormasyon sa ibaba, sa inyo. Kapag pinabayaan natin itong lumaki, yung mga anak niyo, yung mga anak ko, ang malululong sa droga. Kawawa naman po ang mga pamilya sa Pampanga,” the governor said.