Uniform closing time of night establishments proposed

BAGUIO CITY  – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance making uniform the allowed closing time for all establishments in the city that operate during night time, amending for the purpose Ordinance No. 88, series of 2009.

The ordinance authored by Councilors Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. and Elmer Datuin stated that all night spots will be allowed to operate until 2 am for purposes of uniformity in the prescribed closing time.

The ordinance stipulated through the years since its formal declaration as the Summer Capital of the Philippines, Baguio City has become a favorite destination of local and foreign tourists thereby contributing in boosting the tourism and economic industries of the city.

Ordinance NO. 25, series of 1987 was enacted codifying the liquor ordinances in the city but the same was later amended by Ordinance No. 1, series of 1990 by providing for the allowed time of operation of establishments operating during the night.

With the tremendous influx of foreign and domestic visitors to the city during holidays and long weekends, the ordinance noted that night establishments are among the favorites destinations of the visitors flocking to the city but on many occasions, owners of the night establishments are constrained to request their customers to leave their establishments because of the mandatory closing time pursuant to existing ordinances in the city.

According to the proponents, worthy of consideration is the proposal of owners and operators of business establishments operating at night that their mandated closing time under Ordinance No. 88, series of 2009 be revisited and revised considering that it is no longer commensurate to the operational expenses which include, among others, utility services, permit fees and other taxes, rental fees and the increase in the prices of their products and services.

The proponents underscored the urgent need to revise the time of operation for all business establishments operating at night by providing for a uniform closing time of the said businesses to prevent confusion among their patrons.

Earlier, the local legislative body disapproved on third reading a similar proposal that was filed by some local legislators considering the alleged lack of sincerity by some of the night establishment owners when they filed a case against the local government while negotiating for the possible uniform closing time of the said establishments.

Under the provisions of the old ordinance, establishments with dancing are required to operate from 3 pm to 2 am, those without dancing are allowed to operate from 3 pm to 12 midnight while videoke establishments are only allowed to operate until midnight.

However, the proposal to revive the amendments to the old liquor ordinance will have to pass through the regular legislative process wherein it will have to be re-published and deliberated on second reading before and after publication prior to its being approved on third reading.

The ordinance was referred to the Committee on Laws for study and recommendation whether it will be passed on second and third readings after a group of night establishment owners petitioned the local legislative body for the possible extension of their closing time to cater to their increasing number of patrons.

By Dexter A. See

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