Nightclub curfew selective?

A BUSINESS owner at Iloilo City’s nightlife capital Smallville Complex complained that the Executive Order (EO) imposing curfew on bars and nightclubs is “selective.”

Councilor Joshua Alim said he received complaint from an anonymous person who claimed that the EO does not go after all violators.

EO 146-2017 issued by Mayor Jose Espinosa III directs “the mandatory closure at 2 a.m. of all bars, nightclubs, disco bars, resto-bars, and other similar establishments providing for exemptions and sanctions for violations thereof, and for other purposes.”

“I suspect that he one of the owners of a building at Smallville Complex,” Alim said during the regular session of the City Council on Sept 11, 2018.

The complainant claimed that while they have tried their best to comply with the owner, some bars that operated after 2 a.m. were never apprehended. The complainant sent photos to the councilor to support the claim.

The complainant also claimed that some establishment indeed close their front entrances when the curfew takes effect but have separate exit and entrance in adjoining hotels.

“According to him, it is very unfair because there are other bars, restaurants, and hotels that are enjoying the ‘exemption’ to the order,” Alim said.

The councilor proposed that a public hearing be conducted relative to the implementation of EO 146-2017.

“This is more of an executive function but I think we need to have a public hearing on the impact of the Order. This is another complaint coming from a taxpayer of the city. I think we need to have a serious look on this,” he said.

Alim said he also wants to review the impact of the order in the operation of legitimate business groups.

He referred the issue to the Committee on Police Matters which he chaired for the possible conduct of a committee hearing.

Norman Tabud, head of the Business Process and Licensing Office (BPLO), earlier said the EO “lacks teeth.”

Tabud said the curfew would be more effective if the EO is replaced by an ordinance that will impose monetary penalties on the violators.

EO 146 only provides administrative sanctions on violators such as cancellation of business permits and closure of the establishments.

Since the EO took effect in December 2017, Tabud said they have issued notices of violation to seven businesses.

With the lack of a proper ordinance, Tabud said their actions are based on Tax Ordinance 2007-016 (Local Revenue Code of Iloilo City).

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