MAYOR Mauricio Domogan vetoed Resolution 252, series of 2016, adopting an experimental scheme for six months to extend the business hours of liquor establishments in Baguio City, saying the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) wants reduced operating hours of liquor establishments because of the prevalence of liquor-related incidents.
The local chief executive returned to the City Council the resolution, noting there will be no change in the operating hours of the liquor establishments after receiving a verbal report from BCPO seeking to reduce the business hours of the establishments to prevent liquor-related incidents in the city.
Under existing rules and regulations, the mayor has the mandate to veto any resolution or ordinance passed by the legislative body when it runs counter to the general welfare clause of the constitution and other related laws but the City Council can override the said veto by a two-thirds vote of its members.
Ordinance No. 25, series of 1987 which codified the city’s liquor ordinances governs the establishment, maintenance and operation of places of amusement within the city, regulating the sale or serving by, and/or drinking of liquor or alcoholic beverages in certain places and on Sundays and legal holidays and providing for penalties for violations.
This ordinance was amended by Ordinance No. 1, series of 1990, and later, by Ordinance No. 88, series of 2009, to include the business hours of the liquor establishments.
Section 9 of the same ordinance provides that for the sake of the general welfare and protection of the people from the effects of all businesses with amusements such as bars, nightclubs, discos, beer gardens, karaoke or videoke bars, billiards, computer centers and internet cafes, their business hours should be limited to 5 pm to 2 am for establishments with dancing; from 3 pm to 12 midnight for establishments without dancing.
Business owners claim the duration of business hours set nearly seven years ago could no longer meet their costs of operation which include electricity, water, rental fees, business taxes and increase in prices of products and services, and the complaints of clients that the hours are no longer sensible as compared to other highly urbanized cities and tourist destinations in the country.
The council claimed a need to extend the hours of operation of the liquor establishments as the present set-up is no longer helpful to their business and tourists or guests that visit the city.
However, BCPO authorities are proposing that the liquor establishments’ operating hours be reduced because many liquor-related incidents happen during the wee hours of the morning when these establishments close and the police are concentrated in attending to the said incidents instead of patrolling the different barangays to prevent the commission of crimes. (Dexter See/PIO)