PNA file photo)

MANILA – Together with his colleagues in the Senate, Senator Francis Tolentino said on Wednesday the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to end e-sabong (online cockfighting) was the right thing to do.

During an interview with One News, Tolentino said he was glad the word "value" was mentioned by the President, adding that technology should be driven not just by need but, likewise, human values.

He said if ever someone eventually pushes for a bill to resume e-sabong operations in the country, the measure should be in line with Filipino values.

"Will this promote hard work? Will this promote all things that we cherish as a culture, as a nation? Kung gagawa man ng batas, pag-usapan naman yung mga loopholes. Yung mga middlemen, yung mga nagpa-facilitate ng mga online payments, papaano yung taxation? Papaano yung digital regulation? (If we will craft a law, we also should talk about the loopholes. The middlemen, the facilitators of online payments, how would the taxation work? How about the digital regulation?)," Tolentino said.

Tolentino also urged the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) to order the removal of the online cock fighting feature from existing e-wallet applications.

Since Duterte already "cut the legal umbilical cord" of the e-sabong industry, Tolentino said removing the online cockfighting feature from e-wallet applications like GCash and Paymaya will avert possible illegal betting from unsanctioned cockfights.

The senator noted that the reason why e-sabong has proliferated and become a multi-billion industry is the fact that the BSP recognized those licenses issued by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation to online cockfighting operators and allowed cockfight aficionados to place the bets through e-wallet services.

"Kapag inalis mo na iyong feature sa mga payment service providers, wala ng makakataya doon sa GCash through cellphone and PayMaya. Papaano ka pa mag-a underground? (If you remove the feature in payment service providers, no one can bet in Gcash through cellphone and PayMaya. How can you go underground?)," said Tolentino. (PNA)