Extended operation of liquor establishments junked

BAGUIO CITY – The City Council decided to junk on third and final reading a proposed ordinance that sought to extend the operation of bars up to 3 am after some local legislators feel betrayed over the filing of charges against city officials in relation to the local government’s campaign to strictly implement the closure of the establishments on the prescribed closing time.

With a vote of 6 councilors in favour of the approval of the proposed amendatory measure on third reading, 3 councilors against the proposal and 3 councilors abstaining, the desired extension of the closing time of bars to 3 am from the present 2 am closing time will no longer be in effect.

Councilor Edgar M. Avila raised the observation that it seems that the bar owners do not have the sincerity when they tried to negotiate with city officials for the enactment of the ordinance that will allow them to extend their operations up to 3 am but ended up filing charges against the local government for the implementation of closure orders in their establishments for violating the prescribed closing time of 2 am.

While some of the local legislators claimed that they were not bullied by the bar owners who filed the case against city officials when negotiations for the possible enactment of the proposed measure was underway, Avil underscored that the aldermen should not be held hostage by the bar owners who refuse to strictly adhere to existing rules and regulations governing the closing time of bars which is fixed at 2 pm for bars with dancing, 12 midnight for bars and 10 pm for videoke establishments.

Earlier, the Baguio City Police (BCPO) implemented an aggressive campaign against erring bar owners in the city who continuously violate their prescribed closing time and recommended to the local government the closure of the establishments that were found to have violated the prescribed closing hours to help deter the occurrence of untoward incidents that compromise the prevailing good peace and order situation in the city.

Affected bar owners tried to lobby with the local government to relax the aggressive campaign but they were directed to pay their prescribed fines and were reminded to adhere to the provisions of existing liquor ordinance and related rules and regulations.

Under the city’s liquor ordinance, violators of the prescribed closing time will be penalized by a fine of P1,000 for the first offense, a fine of P2,000 for the second offense, a fine of P4,000 and temporary closure of the establishment for the third offense and a fine of P5,000 for the fourth offense aside from the revocation of the business permit and the closure of the liquor establishment.

Some local legislators signified their intention to refile the disapproved ordinance but the measure will have to undergo the regular process of passing through first, second and third readings before it will be implemented once Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan will sign the desired amendatory measure.

The local legislative body deferred approval of the proposed ordinance on third reading several times before eventually junking the measure during last Monday’s regular session.

By Dexter A. See

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