Cebu City follows due process before closing down KTV bars — legal officer

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio August 21,2019 - 10:18 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines—Mayor Edgardo Labella has the authority to close down KTV bars hiring minors if a notice of hearing can be provided, according to the Cebu City Legal Office (CLO).

Lawyer Rey Gealon, the city legal officer, said the local government unit (LGU) has the duty to monitor establishments and document cases of child and human trafficking.

The LGU is granted the rights to revoke permits of such establishments if they are proven to have violated the law.

Gealon noted that the city government has to follow the due process which include informing the establishment that a hearing will be set, which will provide the owner(s) with the venue to defend themselves.

Gealon emphasized the value of fairness and objectivity in conducting investigations on the issue.

While the city has the responsibility to ensure that citizens, especially the children, are protected from trafficking, Gealon said it is also the city government’s mandate to uphold the rights of business establishments by following the due process of law.

“The marching order of the Mayor is for the CLO to conduct an administrative hearing after the owner of the KTV bar will be duly notified,” said Gealon.

Aside from an administrative hearing, the cease-and-desist order may also be issued if the Department of Social Welfare and Services (DSWS) requests it from the local government units to determine the details of the establishment’s violation of anti-trafficking laws.

READ: 27 women rescued, 3 pimps nabbed in a KTV bar raid

READ: Labella to issue cease and desist order against KTV bar if proven it hired minors

Labella, in previous statements, expressed his plans to issue a cease-and-desist order to a  KTV bar where 11 minors, with ages 15 years old and below, were rescued by authorities on August 17, 2019.

The mayor plans to reconvene the Cebu City Anti-Indency Board to oversee the operation of KTV bars and other entertainment joints in the city.

Labella also urged KTV bar operators to observe the rule of law and refrain from hiring minors.

“When you operate, see to it that you do it within the parameters of our laws,” he said. / celr

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