Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Briones: Diary of a lush

On the go

THINGS are looking up, indeed.

Here in Cebu City, Mayor Edgardo Labella recently lifted the liquor ban, which means bars and restaurants that have complied with all the requirements can once again serve liquor.


There was that period right after the government locked down the city at the end of March last year that the selling of alcohol was prohibited, much to the shock and horror of residents — as for me I was livid — but fortunately the powers that be realized early on that they had made a mistake and quickly changed their minds.

Because, let’s face it, the benefits of alcohol far outweigh the drawbacks.

If you drink enough, it numbs the senses. And that’s what many of us needed when we suddenly found ourselves cooped up inside our houses wondering what would happen next.

I know. Some turned to religion, banking on faith to see them through the dark days, but others turned to the bottle.

Don’t ask me how I coped during the early days of the health crisis, but I can assure you that Tanduay Distillers Inc. has made a tidy profit.

By allowing the sale of liquor, the City threw a lifeline to the hundreds of mom-and-pop stores that were barely surviving after their sales plummeted because of people’s limited movement.

The struggle was real.

I remember back in the early days of the city’s prohibition I was in a government office that I will not name to see someone.

It wasn’t a social visit. The person happened to live in a northern town that is under the jurisdiction of the Provincial Government. As you all know, the Province, under the administration of Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia, promotes culture and heritage. And what do you know, “the Philippines has its own unique drinking culture and practices that are based on influences from its Austronesian heritage to the colonial influences of Spain, the United States and Japan.”

You see, Filipinos and alcohol go a long way back.

Anyway, I was there to pick up several bottles of, eh, milk that I had asked the person to buy for me. As they say, when there’s a will, there’s a way. Did I break the law? I may have circumvented it, but my conscience is clear.

Still, that’s all water under the bridge.

The rise in coronavirus cases last February forced the Cebu City Government to reimpose the liquor ban. The ban was limited to the serving and drinking of alcohol inside bars and restaurants. So the public could still buy it in stores and drink it at home because public drinking is also not allowed.

With the steady drop in cases over the past few weeks, the business sector urged the City to lift it and the City acquiesced.

Mind you, drink responsibly, especially in the company of others. Always, always observe minimum health protocols.


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