Bar owners in Baguio oppose curfew

THE Baguio Association of Bars and Entertainers (Babes) is asking the council to amend the liquor ordinance to save their livelihood.

Babes president Allan Bandoy, representing over 400 nighttime establishments in the city, are up in arms with the strict implementation of a two decade-old law that aims to regulate sale and consumption of liquor.
Over 6,000 signatures have been culled in a petition to amend and temporarily suspend the implementation of City Ordinance 88 known as the Liquor Code.

Under the law, operational hours of establishments with dancing is until 2 a.m., while establishments like beer gardens, folk houses or folk den serving beers, restaurants serving liquor, bar or coffee shops serving liquor and internet cafes are allowed to operate till midnight.

Under the law, door of establishments must be closed at midnight and 2 a.m. respectively with customers inside drinking. However, Bandoy bemoans the implementation of the Baguio City Police Office saying they are forcibly asking customers to get out of establishments even if they are still consuming their meals or drinks making it bad for business.

The group said the existing hours of operation is no longer sensible when compared with the hours of operation of similar establishments in other highly urbanized cities and tourist destinations around the country.

Bandoy is asking for a leeway for costumers to finish orders before authorities ask them to leave the establishments.

The Babes official said citation have been given to establishments in the past three weeks as well as fines ranging from P2,000 for the first offense and P4,000 for the 2nd offense with the risk for closure and non-renewal of permits for the succeeding offenses.

Bandoy said costumers usually order drinks and food before the closing time knowing they could consume the orders despite the establishments being closed.

Close to an hour of leeway is what Bandoy is asking the Council to allow customers to finish up before leaving without being prodded by police.

The Council is set to discuss the matter in a special meeting to consider the request.

Meanwhile, Mayor Maurico Domogan said protesters should ask the Council to amend the existing ordinance and for the meantime follow the law.

"It is a city ordinance, we should follow the law," added Domogan.
BABES has over 700 entertainers in their roster of membership accounting for 60 bars, nights clubs and night time establishments in the city alone .
Entertainers as defined by Bandoy includes comedians, dancers, singers and sex workers who derive livelihood from various nighttime establishments in the city.

Bandoy said the peak season for entertainers start on these months until summer season, coinciding with big events in the city like the Baguio Flower Festival as well as the summer activities.

Bandoy with the group of Babes flocked to City Hall after a parade in the city to lobby their cause to officials.
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