No more drinking in public spaces soon

DRINKING liquor along the street, on sidewalks, in public parks and playgrounds will soon be punishable, as the Davao City Council approved on third and final reading on March 6 an ordinance prohibiting these.

The Sobriety Ordinance states, "The consumption of alcoholic beverages in public spaces which includes sidewalks, public parks and playground, among others, is no longer allowed."

Councilor Mabel Sunga-Acosta said the ordinance was crafted for safety reasons.

"It is meant to curb harassment on women by drunken neighbors who are drinking within the public road," she said.

She said the ordinance will provide legal bases for the barangay officials to place fines against people who drink along sidewalks or public streets, especially those who are caught running amuck.

"Even if they did not punch anymore or hurt anyone if they disturbed the peace of other people, they should be accountable for it," Acosta said.

She said the ordinance is different from liquor ban as it focuses on buying and selling within specific time, and the sobriety ordinance will cover 24 hours.

By definition, alcoholic beverages or intoxicating beverages include any drink that contains alcohol as an active agent, including but not limited to beers, liquors, spirits, wines, locally distilled alcoholic drinks (such as but not limited to tuba, lambanog, basic, etc), and cocktails.

Public street and sidewalks are defined as any public street, highway, bridge, thoroughfare, sidewalk, walkway, footpath, or footbridge within the territorial jurisdiction of the city.

Public parks and playgrounds are defined as any park, plaza, playground, gym, cemetery, public ports, and passenger water vessels, or other public service or recreational areas created, designated or maintained by the barangay, city or national government as a public area.

Other public areas, according to an ordinance are private areas generally open to public such as parking areas, green spaces, gardens, playgrounds, etc. and uninhabited private places used without the permission of the owner beaches, empty lots, abandoned house or buildings.

Anyone caught in violation of the provisions of the ordinance will be asked to pay a fine of P3,000 for the first offense, P5,000 and or imprisonment of three months at the discretion of the court for the second offense, and the fine of 5,000 and or/imprisonment of one year at the discretion of the court.

Customers of any establishment, whose business is authorized or permitted by the city government to use a portion or part of the street, sidewalk or public park and special occasions or festivities that shall be authorized or permitted by the city government or the barangay concerned the two exemptions to the provisions of the ordinance

Special permits can also be issued by the barangay council for persons who will conduct special events within their barangays parks, plazas, gyms or streets.

"Special permits issued by the barangay, the barangay council shall be authorized to impose processing fee in accordance with the Local Government Code of 1991," the ordinance read.

"There is a special permit because it will not be total ban because sometimes, we have special events like the Araw ng Dabaw and Kadayawan, but this will not be issued for personal parties, only bigger events," Acosta said in an interview.

She said usage of public area like gym and road can be allowed by mayor and barangay captain if it is an official event and not for personal purposes because it is presumed that there is a peace and order committee, and peace keeping forces are monitoring the area.

The ordinance according to Acosta, will be implemented after being published.

"After the publication, that is the time that it can be implemented," she said.


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