WITH several Dabawenyos seen storming different liquor stores days before the effectivity of the reimplementation of the 24-hour liquor ban, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio reminded the public not to resort into panic-buying.
"Di mo kinahanglan mag-panic. You have until Sunday [November 1] para makapalit sa inyong alcohol (No need to panic. You have until Sunday to buy alcoholic drinks)," Duterte-Carpio said on Friday, October 30, in a radio interview via 87.5 dxQQ Davao City Disaster Radio.
The mayor assured Dabawenyos that stores still have enough stocks available for sale, thus no need to rush to hoard alcoholic beverages especially days before the city reimplements the 24-hour liquor ban.
"Diria ra ko kakita sa Davao (City) nga kung mag-liquor ban, mag-panic. Naunsa man mo oy? Di mo maulaw? (I noticed that it is only in Davao City where people panic whenever there is a liquor ban. Why are you like that? Aren't you ashamed?)," Duterte-Carpio said in jest in reaction to some photos on social media showing long queues at the alcohol sections.
Her statement came a day after she issued Executive Order (EO) 59 on Thursday afternoon, October 29, reimposing the round-the-clock liquor ban effective 5 a.m. of November 2, 2020, until the end of the year, December 31, 2020.
The mayor explained that they gave the people and sellers ample time to buy and sell their alcoholic items.
"We also consider ang inventory sa atong mga negosyante (the inventory of our store owners because), we want our businesses to dispose of their inventory, para dili matanggong ilang kwarta sa stocks nga dili nila mabaligya (so that they won't lose much money from the stocks they procured which won't be sold). We gave everyone four days," she said.
Duterte-Carpio defended the city's move of reimposing the 24-hour liquor ban as one of its stringent measures to further curb the spread of the Covid-19.
"It has been observed from Covid-19 patient interviews that selling, serving and consumption of liquors and similar intoxicating drinks encourage close contact gatherings. Mao na ni ang magtapok unya mag inom, (This is where the mass gathering in drinking session) therefore defeating the objective of the community quarantine," the mayor said.
The mayor first imposed the 24-hour liquor ban last April 6 while the city was under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
She eventually lifted the 24-hour liquor ban on September 21, citing reason to gradually allow business establishments to resume operations including businesses in the liquor industry.
During this time, however, the 1 to 8 a.m. liquor ban under Ordinance 004-12 Series of 2013, or an Ordinance Amending 1627, series of 2014 took effect again.
Duterte-Carpio also cited that the reduced hours of the liquor ban, along with the lifting previously of the 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew, as well as the mandatory use of food and medicine (FM) pass, was a way to test the public's ability to "self-regulate" and abide by the minimum health protocols imposed by the city to curb the spread of the virus.
But in her previous radio interview, the mayor had labeled alcoholic beverages as "non-essentials" and that the public should save their money for other important items or expenditures.
Meanwhile, the mayor admitted that she had received mixed reactions from the public on the reimposition of the liquor ban.
She said she received positive feedback, especially from non-drinkers.
But Duterte-Carpio, during the same radio interview, apologized to beer manufacturers, who will be gravely affected by the city's liquor ban.
"Gitagaan namo og heads-up ang mga liquor manufacturers (We already gave liquor manufacturers a heads up on this policy) and we're truly sorry. We wanted to support all businesses, but unfortunately, dili makontrol ang mga tao (we cannot control the movement of the people) with regards to alcohol [consumption]," she said.
She assured that affected employees will be receiving food assistance from the city, through the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO).
Panic buying, everywhere
On the same day the EO was issued, some netizens already posted photos of alcoholic shelves with "out-of-stock" signages, signifying that some consumers had already rushed.
On Friday, October 30, some people, through various online posts, were shown lining up the moment the grocery stores opened.
A famous supermarket store in Maa posted on its official Facebook page photos showing long queues reaching outside the store. However, it was not clear if the lines were due to its members panic buying for liquors.
Various online posts also showed that alcoholic beverages in some convenience stores in the city were already sold out.
Some Dabawenyos had mixed reactions on the 24-hour liquor ban, with some people panic buying. Some netizens criticized those who resort to panic buying for "wasting their money", which they deemed is not essential at this time of pandemic.
John Suarez, one of those who rushed to their nearest convenience store, said he is storing some drinks in time with the holiday season since the liquor ban will last until the end of the year.
"Masabtan man nato nga naa gyud magkara-kara og palit. Dili lang unta magbuot ang mga dili gainom. Tutal mao nalang man sab ni atong kalipay ilabi na ron nga naa ta sa pandemya, ug kinahanglan nato magpondo sa balay (It is understandable that people would rush buying in these circumstances. Those non-drinkers should not judge us. Besides this is the only source of joy at this time of pandemic, since there is a need to stay at home)," Suarez told SunStar Davao in a Messenger interview.
He clarified, however, that his items will be intended for self consumption, and not for drinking sessions, as he is also "afraid" of going out due to the rising Covid-19 cases in the city.
Elmer, not his real name, a liquor seller in a grocery store, admitted he is worried that they might lose income because of the pandemic.
"Problemado mi unsaon namo ni paghurot og baligya tanan in four days. Daghan pa mi'g stock. Unya basin di na namo ni mahurot og baligya tanan. Ang uban gani siguro ipanghatag nalang namo. Kani amo ginansya ron, temporary ra ni. Kay inig sugod sa liquor ban, no work nasab mi (We are worried on how we would be able to dispose all these stored liquor in four days. We have more available stock that we might not be able to sell all of these. We might even just give away our surplus. Our brisk income right now is only temporary because when the liquor ban takes effect, we won't have any work at all)," he said.