BY ADRIAN P. NEMES III
“Curfew must stay,” Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia told the businessmen in reaction to their appeal recently to lift its implementation to revitalize the night businesses.
Leonardia, and representatives of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Resorts Association of the Negros, and the Hotel and Restaurants Association of Negros Occidental discussed the appeal on the lifting of curfew and the partial liquor ban.
In a joint position letter, the MBCCI, RANI, and HRANO noted that the community quarantine due to the pandemic has triggered loss of jobs and livelihood for many, adding that many businesses, including small and micro enterprises and those operating at night, were forced to close and left many workers jobless, especially in the tourism sector, hence the curfew should be lifted.
But Leonardia told the businessmen that it is not advisable to lift the curfew, adding that the Philippine National Police is also not in favor of lifting it.
He said that Bacolod City Police Office acting director, P/Lt. Col Manuel Placido, had recommended that the curfew should stay.
The Bacolod police earlier said that the implementation of curfew in Bacolod helped in deterring crimes last year since the movement of people had been limited.
Leonardia said that “if we forgo with curfew, it is as if we don’t have the pandemic anymore and its continuous implementation is a constant reminder that coronavirus is still here.”
Based on Executive Order No. 2, series of 2021, that Leonardia issued recently, curfew hours in Bacolod will be from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m. with the exception of those who work night shifts, like media practitioners and other individuals involved in public emergencies.
MANDATE ON LIQUOR
Meanwhile, Leonardia clarified that the mandate allowing the consumption of liquor in public does not include beer gardens, entertainment clubs, bars, and other similar establishments, where liquor is their main offering.
This is in accordance with the implementing rules of the National Inter-Agency Task Force, Leonardia said, adding that only restaurants, hotels and eateries, where food is the main offerings, will be allowed to serve alcoholic beverages that should be consumed in their premises.
Public drinking of alcohol also does not include alleys and streets as it is also prohibited under the IATF rules, Leonardia said, adding that customers will still need to follow health protocols while business owners are urged to police their own ranks. The EO allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in specified establishments is being drafted by the Emergency Operations Center and will be finalized by the City Legal Office.*