By <b>CHERYLL D. FIEL</b>
DAVAO CITY – In haste to comply with Davao City Mayor Rody Duterte’s demand, the City Council approved on second reading Tuesday the amendments to the city’s liquor ban from 2 am to 1 am.
The ordinance would have been passed on third reading within the day but floor discussions extended until 5 pm, prompting members of the City Council to decide about holding a special session on Wednesday to pass the resolution.
The City Council is raring to pass the new law ahead of the City’s Kadayawan festival slated on August 8 to 18 where tourists are expected to flock the city and patronize nightclubs and bars.
Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang mentioned during the floor deliberations that the mayor wrote to the council last week to prioritize the passing of the ordinance.
Owners of business establishments were wary, however, that the new law would curb their income.
City Councilor Bonifacio Militar, the main proponent of the resolution which seeks to enact an ordinance amending Ordinance No. 1627 of 1994 assured the matter has been duly discussed in a committee hearing. The intent of the law, he stressed, is to limit the incidence of crime.
He said police blotter reports showed that most crimes were committed after 12 Midnight and offenders were usually drunk.
The proposed amendment seeks an earlier curfew of 1 am for the selling, serving and consumption of liquors, coco wine and other nature wine and other alcoholic beverages, instead of 2 am.
Another amendment introduced is the prohibition of consumption of intoxicating substances within business establishments and in other public places starting at 1 am until 8 am. These include, but are not limited to parks, plazas, parking areas, and uninhabited private places.
The amendment also exacts higher penalties for violators, such as a fine of P3,000 for first-time offenders; P5,000 fine and three-month imprisonment or both upon discretion of the court for second-time offenders; and a P5,000 fine, with imprisonment upon determination of the court and possible revocation of business permit for third-time offenders.
The amendment also provides a clause on the handling of minors caught violating the law, where they shall be dealt with in accordance with the juvenile justice law.
Under the law Republic Act 9344 or the Juvenile Justice Welfare Act of 2007, a child 15 years of age or under at the time of the commission of the offense shall be exempt from criminal liability but will be subjected to an intervention program.
A child above 15 years but below 18 years, under the law shall also be exempted from criminal liability, unless he has acted with discernment, in which case he shall be subjected to appropriate proceedings.
There is, however, a pending proposal in Congress to amend the law wherein children, 12 to 15 years old who are proven to have committed a crime may now face imprisonment of not lower than one year. (Cheryll D. Fiel, /davaotoday.comdavao city, davao city news, liquor ban