About that curfew policy

May 14,2016 - 12:01 AM

5-14 CARTOONHe has yet to be proclaimed, but this early presumptive president and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte has laid out the law, so to speak, by declaring that he will order a curfew for minors and a liquor ban in public places.

Also being considered is a ban on karaoke clubs especially during the evening. With so many problems confronting the country, Duterte’s initial policy decisions reflect his own experience as the mayor of one of the nation’s leading cities which he was credited for keeping its streets clean of crimes.

In fact the curfew decision is one of many implemented in Davao that Duterte’s spokesman Peter Lavina said they hope to implement nationwide. The word curfew recalls to mind for those old enough to have experienced martial law, the police/paramilitary crackdown on dissidents who spoke out against the Marcos regime.

But Lavina clarified that the curfew will only apply to unescorted minors and not adults. The rationale is obvious and justified; minors need to be safe in their homes so they can sleep and go to school or play the next day.

In Cebu, specifically Metro Cebu, the curfew along with the liquor ban will thankfully cut down on the drunken revelry that had gone overboard during the celebration of the annual Sinulog and we won’t be surprised if more than a few of those who got drunk were minors.

In fact this year’s Sinulog had resulted in the injuries of some revelers due to a stampede that occurred within the Mango Avenue area.

This year’s Sinulog celebration also saw one Talisay City councilor, the grandson of incoming Talisay City Mayor Eduardo Gullas figure in a confrontation with a stranger also in the Mango Avenue area, a popular nightspot and watering hole for residents and both domestic and foreign visitors.

As with the liquor ban and the ban on karaoke nightclubs, Lavina said the incoming Duterte administration won’t curtail the basic freedoms of travel and movement in public places but it is how this curfew and liquor ban will be enforced that we will see if these policies are worth supporting.

The police and the tanods should be fully trained and educated on how to impose the curfew to avoid ignorance which leads to abuse. Penalties for violations may involve heavy fines or worse, imprisonment but this, as Lavina correctly pointed out, needs the input and active collaboration with stakeholders and eventual public consent and support.

But even without an official order, local officials can take the lead. In fact there is a Lapu-Lapu City ordinance that imposes a curfew on unescorted minors and Internet cafés, another popular hangout for minors who love to play online games, are restricted from allowing minors to enter during school hours or in the late evening.

How this curfew policy will be enforced remains to be seen but the grounds cited by Duterte’s camp are valid and will undoubtedly gain the support of families nationwide. Keeping the kids safe at home will mean the police and tanods have one less problem to worry about in keeping the peace.

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TAGS: Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, liquor ban

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