BRAWLS LEAD TO BAN: City tightens liquor sale to midnight only

Brawls in Iloilo City prompted the local government to limit the sale of alcoholic liquor once more. (Screen grab from vide posted by E. Jerez)

By Joseph B.A. Marzan

Recent nightlife activities pushed Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas on Tuesday to restrict the public sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks, like the ban imposed at the height of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Treñas issued Executive Order No. 49-A with immediate effect, curbing the public sale and consumption between 8 a.m. to 12 midnight “of any form of liquor or alcoholic beverages, or any alcoholic drink containing a specific percentage of alcohol by volume or weight which may be in the form of whisky, brandy, gin, rum, cordial, liquor, cocktail, wine, [and] champagne.”

The restriction was imposed after confirmed reports of a bar brawl in Mandurriao district in the late hours of Dec 3, with videos of the fiasco making rounds on social media.

The mayor has issued a statement on Sunday condemning what had happened, and in a press release on Tuesday, he indirectly cited the brawl as the cause of his latest edict.

“There is a need to amend the EO due to recent prevalence of loitering and bar fighting while under the influence of liquor,” the mayor said in a press release.

The press release also noted a rising number of bars and other related or similar establishments engaging in unregulated handling of liquor and other intoxicating drinks, even during the wee morning hours and in the daytime, which “result to improper conduct and harmful behavior of [alcohol] consumers,” citing media and police reports.

Aside from the latest restriction, the city government also reiterated the importance compliance with minimum health protocols, including physical distancing and other existing restrictions as imposed by local ordinances such as the liquor ban for minors or those aged below 18 years.

“We will deploy and ensure the presence of compliance officers and other authorized personnel by the Iloilo City Government to conduct regular random inspections and check on proper compliance of business establishments operating in the city,” Treñas added.

This is the second imposition of limited alcohol sale and consumption times, after Executive Order No. 49 was issued on August 23 due to the shooting death of a 21-year-old, in another bar also in Mandurriao district.

Prior to the edict, restrictions on alcohol sale and consumption had been loosened amid the COVID-19 pandemic after the city’s alert level status was lowered in March.