The city government has temporarily banned the sale and delivery of liquor in response to reports of alcohol-related incidents since the enhanced community quarantine was enforced.

In an advisory issued Friday and signed by city administrator Arnel Pedrosa, the city government said “the sale and consumption of alcohol beverages encourage gatherings and close contact among people, defeating the objectives of the community quarantine”.

The temporary ban on selling, delivery, serving, and regulation of liquor consumption is intended to step up “social distancing and decreasing person-to-person contact to contain the spread of COVID-19, said Pedrosa in an interview Saturday with Palawan News.

“Merong mga reports ng alcohol-related incidents. Hindi talaga maitatanggi na may mga umiinom pa rin kahit nasa gitna ng krisis. Kung matapos and enhanced community quarantine, mawawala na rin and liquor ban. Kung mag-e-extend naman, mae-extend din po ‘yan,” Pedrosa said.

During the quarantine period, he said business establishments such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, groceries, supermarkets, hypermarkets, convenience stores, public markets, pharmacies, drugstores, and other related businesses within the city are prohibited to sell, serve, offer, especially distilled spirits, wines, beer, and other alcoholic beverages to any person.

Alcohol consumption in public places is also prohibited, Pedrosa said.

“Kasama lahat, meron kasi tayong regulatory powers sa kanilang business — tayo ang nag-i-issue ng kanilang license. Actually, ang pinaka challenge namin ‘yong sa mga bahay na pribado kasi siyempre hindi mo na rin makikita yan, itatago nila yan. We will rely on good faith na lang — honesty and sincerity of intention,” he said.

“Ang mga barangay officials ay sila talaga ang dapat na magpatupad niyan dahil they are closer sa mga communities nila at nakikita naman nila yan. Sa panahon ngayon, this is not the time for merrymaking,” Pedrosa added.

Consumption of liquor within the confines of one’s home between 7-10 p.m. will be permitted provided the occasions are birthday, anniversaries, and the likes. However, only household members who are of legal age shall be permitted to consume alcohol “moderately”.

They have to use their own glass or cup and should also observe the “social distancing” measure.

“Resistensya ang pinag-uusapan dito, hindi naman kayo superman — kayo ay vulnerable sa sakit na ito. Samahan mo pa yan ng alak, lalo kang mapapasama,” he added.

The implementation of the liquor will be led by the city police with the barangay officials and security forces, city public order and safety office and the anti-crime group.

The City Business Permits and Licensing Office (CBPLO), on the other hand, will take charge of monitoring the business establishments.

Any person of legal age who will violate the alcohol ban will be recommended for prosecution.

The permits and licenses of businesses stated in the advisory will be suspended or canceled if they violate the ban. They will be closed immediately pending investigation.

Any public officer who shall knowingly and maliciously prevent, prohibit, refuse, discontinue or violate the implementation of the liquor ban shall be dealt with according to applicable laws.

“Dereliction of duty yan ang magiging administrative offense. Puwede rin siyang maging criminal doon sa R.A. 3019, yong non-performance,” Pedrosa said.

Republic Act 3019 is the policy of the Philippine government in line with the principle that a public office is a public trust, to repress certain acts of public officers and private persons alike which constitute graft or corrupt practices or which may lead thereto.