Nalzaro: City Hall should ‘strike a balance’

CLAIMING success in the holding of the Sinulog grand parade last Sunday, organizers vowed to impose stricter rules in the holding of this annual event in the succeeding years. This after the success of this year’s activities was attributed to the rules City Hall implemented, like the ban on the selling of liquor within 300 meters from the parade route and the ban on street parties, especially in “notorious places” like Mango Ave. and Juana Osmeña St.

City Hall also prohibited establishments from putting up tents, table and chairs in their parking spaces to accommodate more customers. Even hotels and pension houses within the required radius were forbidden from serving liquor to their guests even inside their rooms. But since Filipinos are hard-headed, there were some who managed to break the rules. City Hall vowed to penalize these establishments after getting official reports.

City Councilor Dave Tumulak, deputy mayor for police matters and overall chairman of the Sinulog, was inspired by the success of the event, which was peaceful and orderly. He said he would recommend to the mayor that the ban on selling of liquor and street parties for next year’s celebration would be expanded beyond 300 meters.

My suggestion to our friend Dave is that he should also consider the business aspect. Businessmen whose establishments were within 300 radius already suffered greatly because of the ban. Their contention was that they lost the opportunity to increase their sales and revenues during the festivities. In fact, during a dialogue with City Hall officials, they asked for a tax relief.

If the prohibition would be expanded to, let us sa, a kilometer, more establishments would be affected. Bars, restaurants and stores located along Escario St, Capitol Site, V. Rama, T. Padilla, Colon, Sambag 1, Pahina Central, Gorordo and parts of the North Reclamation Area would be affected. Is this policy good for business? I don’t think so.

City Hall and Sinulog organizers should “strike a balance” between security matters and the business aspect. Businessmen are paying taxes to the city and we have also to consider their predicament viz-a-viz in relation to City Hall’s policies during the Sinulog. Is drunkenness really a threat to peace and order during the Sinulog festivities? In my 30 years of covering the Sinulog, I never heard of a pre or post Sinulog major accident caused by drunkenness like rumble or stampede. Yes, there were unruly people during street parties but their cases were isolated ones.

The banning of the selling of liquor was not really the major factor why the Sinulog was orderly and peaceful. I know of some people who were already drunk when they witnessed the grand parade. They drank in other places but they behaved.

Celebrating occasions like fiestas is dull without drinking. Besides,drinking is a Filipino tradition that is part of the revelry. The presence of more policemen is the most effective way to prevent trouble, especially in “notorious areas.” If there are drunk people causing trouble then they should be arrested. But don’t deprive others of their freedom to enjoy.

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