Revised Liquor Code aims to protect minors

Revised Liquor Code aims to protect minors
Contributed photo

FIRST District Councilor Luna Acosta said that the amended Comprehensive Liquor Code of Davao City aims to limit children's exposure to alcoholic beverages. The ordinance, approved for its third and final reading on May 7, 2024, includes provisions to protect minors from early exposure to liquor.

Acosta, chairperson of the committee on peace and public safety and the proponent of the ordinance, said during the ISpeak media forum, on Thursday morning, May 9, 2024, at the City Mayor's Office, that the updated ordinance retains some original elements but incorporates new measures to safeguard minors from alcohol exposure.

“Have stricter implementation with regards to serving minors; for both the ordinances (Comprehensive Liquor Code of Davao City and the “Revised Comprehensive Anti-Smoking Ordinance of Davao City) if the age of the minors purchasing alcohol or cigarettes is in doubt you have to ask for an ID,” she said.

Acosta drew parallels to international practices where IDs are routinely checked during alcohol purchases. She acknowledged reports of liquor being served to minors in some establishments and stressed the importance of ID verification for customers of questionable age.

Liquor-selling establishments are required to display signage stating "NO LIQUOR TO MINORS," "LIQUOR LAST CALL BY 12 AM," and "NO LIQUOR BY 1:00 AM." The signage must feature letters no less than three inches tall and be prominently positioned within the premises. Public parks and playgrounds are mandated to display signs prohibiting liquor and alcohol, measuring at least eight by eighteen inches.

Under the revised ordinance, establishments within a 50-meter radius of schools, health facilities, churches, places frequented by minors, and public buildings are prohibited from serving liquor between 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Other establishments farther from schools are restricted from liquor sales between 1 a.m. and 2 p.m., with all orders required to be consumed by 1 p.m.

Hotels and resorts certified as tourism-accredited accommodations by the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the City Tourism Operations Office (CTOO) are exempt from these restrictions provided they maintain measures to prevent disorderly conduct resulting from liquor consumption.

Implementation and enforcement of the ordinance fall under the Anti-Vices Task Force (AVTF), composed of personnel from the Davao City Police Office (DCPO), City Health Office (CHO), and Business Bureau, among others.

Violators face fines ranging from P1,000 to P5,000 and may have their business permits revoked in addition to imprisonment for up to one year. Minors caught violating the ordinance will be referred to the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) for intervention, including counseling and rehabilitation programs for alcohol cessation.

The revision of the Comprehensive Liquor Code was prompted by concerns raised by the City Anti-Drug Abuse Council (Cadac) regarding the risks associated with early exposure to smoking and drinking among children, which can lead to increased susceptibility to drug use later in life. RGP

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