Duterte’s liquor ban and other policies: they are welcome but…

By: Carmel Loise Matus May 16,2016 - 10:42 PM
DUTERTE THANKS/MAY 16,2016:A bus of Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte with a words "SALAMAT" THANKS park in Ayala to its supporter these group come from Davao City.(CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

THANK YOU BUS. Supporters of presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte from Davao City are going around Cebu on board a bus festooned with a streamer that says “SALAMAT” to thank Cebuanos for their Duterte votes. After Cebu, the group will head to other parts of the country. (CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

A liquor ban from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. is not about curtailing people’s right to de-stress after work or to party. For Elton Tio, it’s about business.

Tio, owner of well-known watering holes in Cebu — Alchology, Ultra, 24/7 KTVs Music One and Tonyos — is bracing for the “negative impact” of the liquor ban on his businesses.

“I have 10 establishments that gain most profit by selling alcoholic beverages. In fact, almost all my businesses involve liquor,” said Tio.

With Rodrigo Duterte now all but officially proclaimed as the next president of the country, Tio said he will be willing to support the Duterte policies.

However, a nationwide liquor ban from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. is not one he is prepared to accept.

“I do get that his intention for Davao’s 1 a.m. liquor ban is primarily for the safety of its people. Davao wouldn’t be as safe as it is right now if it weren’t for him. I trust that he would not do that to bigger cities like Cebu and Manila because that would just be unnecessary. He knows better than that, and that’s why he’s where he is right now,” he said.

Tio said implementing the ban would also mean cutting down on his number of employees.

But don’t be surprise if Tio is not angry at all at Duterte even with the prospect of him losing business. He is, after all, a Duterte supporter.

He said that if, despite the objections of businessmen like him, the ban will still be implemented, he will just have to abide.

But he said he hoped that instead of enforcing a liquor ban, Duterte would instead place more policemen on the streets to assure the safety of people who will be going out to party.

For Rey Dacalos, marketing officer of Liv Super Club in Mandaue City, one of Cebu’s must-go-to nightspots, there should be consultation first with business establishments like Liv before the liquor ban is enforced.

Liv Super Club, he said, relies on liquor sale for its income, as it represents 70 percent of its earning, with only 20-30 percent coming from entrance fees.

Most of the party goers in Cebu City, according to Dacalos, party late. This means that they go to bars and clubs to party at around midnight or at 1 a.m.

Dacalos said there should also be “experimental months” to evaluate if the ban is doable.

If the ban will have to be implemented, he also believed it should not cover the weekends since there are more customers coming at this time.

But Kenneth Dong, the chief executive officer of Liv Super Club, said they would be willing to comply and would just have to adjust their business hours.

“If it will be implemented nationwide, the party goers will just have to adjust. Clubs and bars will have to follow rules, but it doesn’t mean that the partying has to stop. They can just adjust the time, party earlier . . . after dinner and to finish early . . . around 1 a.m.,” Dong said.

According to Dong, the same party time is also being done in Thailand and businesses there are not losing at all.

In Thailand, he said, club goers “party and drink early, get drunk early then go home and rest early as well.”

“There is a plus side to this. When we party early then go home early, our bodies recover faster since there would barely be any hangover and since we have rested well. The next day isn’t wasted,” Dong said.

More importantly, said Dong, was that “we elected Duterte to be our president, so we have to support and choose to obey his new programs and policies.”

“After all, if our country progresses, businesses will also prosper,” he added.

In Davao City, Ordinance No. 004-13 regulates the operation of business establishments selling liquors, coconut wine, and other alcoholic beverages. Sale of all alcoholic drinks are prohibited from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m.

First offenders are fined from P3,000, P5,000, or an imprisonment of three months upon the discretion of the court; while second offense carries a fine of P5,000, imprisonment of one year and revocation of business permit. If the violation is committed by a corporation, partnership or association, the president or the manager is also held liable.

Curfew, anyone?

On the other hand, the 10 p.m. curfew on minors, which is now in place in Davao City, is a policy that many would welcome in Cebu as it would help curve crimes involving minors, said former Dangerous Drugs Board undersecretary Clarence Paul Oaminal.

However, Oaminal said there are questions that needed to be addressed first: “Why are there children in the streets in late evenings and dawn? Where will we put them? Our Social Welfare departments must help this. We must all be part of this.”

The curfew would also help curb both drugs and criminal activities on the streets.

But Oaminal said he believed that Duterte’s promise to stop illegal drugs and crimes in six months would be impossible.

“It may be lessen but will not be eradicated within the time frame he promised. As for extra-judicial killing, it is never a solution, it should not even be an option,” he added.

Oaminal recalled criminality in Cebu did not stop despite the killing of criminals in the mid-2000s, with over a hundred criminals killed by motorcycle-riding or masked hit men.

“We have done it in Cebu, the killings reached to a hundred, but it never solved the problem. The sober solution aside from law enforcement, which is supply reduction, is to give importance to drug abuse prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. We address the drug problem with educating our youth and our people not to use drugs. Painfully, it starts within the family, and as long as we see drug abuse as the problem of law enforcement and not primarily the sacred duty of fathers and mothers, we will never solve the drug menace,” he added.

Bullish outlook

Cebu’s business community is, meanwhile, looking forward to the Duterte administration following his announcement of his eight-point economic agenda.

Melanie Ng, president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the policies are what the business community has been hoping that the government would address.

Ng said they specifically look forward to the plan to remove red tape and streamline transactions with government. She added that addressing job mismatch, developing countryside tourism, improving education, major tax reform, reviewing restrictions on foreign ownership, thereby attracting more foreign investors are all much-needed economic initiatives.

Ng said they were also glad to note that the incoming administration plans to continue and improve the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program.

“The benefit and impact of PPP projects in the country cannot be denied especially in Cebu with the ongoing new Mactan Cebu International Airport Terminal project,” she added.

As for solving criminality, Ng said it is a positive move and will not discourage investors “as long as it is done with the rule of law.”

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TAGS: Cebu, election, Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte

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