BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
Mayor Evelio Leonardia yesterday said the new curfew hours in Bacolod City may possibly take effect starting Sunday.
Leonardia said he signed the amended Curfew Ordinance yesterday and will make an announcement on the specific curfew schedule Saturday after its publication.
He does not want to make an announcement as to what time the new curfew will start before the publication is done. He will make an official announcement at the right time because of the technicalities involved, Leonardia said.
Leonardia said Iloilo Mayor Jerry Treñas has declared an 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. curfew when in fact Iloilo has lesser cases than Bacolod. This is information for them to ponder upon, Leonardia said.
The mayor has been granted “executive prerogative” by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (SP) to decide on the curfew hours to be implemented in Bacolod, while the city is under the Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ) from August 1 to 15.
Councilor Archie Baribar, author of the curfew ordinance, said this “executive prerogative” is stipulated in Section 4 of City Ordinance No. 934, which they unanimously approved Wednesday.
CO 934, or the “ordinance requiring mandatory observance of a non-social period in all public places in Bacolod during the emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” amended CO 927.
“Non-social period” refers to “general curfew.”
In granting the mayor the executive prerogative, the SP said, “Notwithstanding the quarantine status of the city, the local chief executive (mayor), when there is a compelling health and safety factual basis, decree a more stringent non-social period by temporarily suspending the effectivity of this Ordinance for not more than two weeks. After said period, the non-social period under this Ordinance shall automatically operate.”
When the city is under an MGCQ status, curfew hours should be from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., CO 934 states. Currently the city is implementing CO 927 that provides for the curfew hours from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Last week, Leonardia had issued Executive Order No. 50, where he asked the SP to deliberate on his suggested curfew hours from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Baribar said the new curfew ordinance, with curfew hours from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m., will take effect after its publication in a local newspaper.
However, should the mayor wish to exercise his discretion under CO 934 (the new ordinance) to set a different curfew, he can do this starting Sunday, considering that CO 934 was submitted to and approved by him yesterday and will be published in local newspapers by tomorrow yet.
Said ordinance will be effective the day after its publication. If the mayor wants to move the curfew to 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. under CO 934, he is allowed to issue an executive order without any more approval of the SP.
Baribar said, “We have given mayor the right to decide. Mayor has the last say. It was stated in the provision of the amended ordinance.*