Lawmaker pushes bill limiting nightclub, bar operating hours

TO help abate criminality and unnecessary loss of lives, a lawmaker is urging Congress to regulate or limit the hours of operations of nightclubs, cocktail lounges, bars and similar establishments serving intoxicating drinks from 5:00 pm to 1:00 am.

“There is no necessity to provide statistics of crimes occurring in these establishments or as a result of having patronized them.  Aside from crimes, lives are lost due to preventable accidents,” Rep. Oscar Malapitan (1st District, Caloocan City) pointed out, as he tries to resurrect his long-dormant proposal pending with the House Committee on Public Order and Safety.

Malapitan, author of HB 3235 which provides for penalties ranging from six months and one day to not more than six years without probation, is also amenable to an extension of until 2:00 am, if the following day is a Saturday, Sunday or holiday.

The bill provides that no person owning, operating, managing or working in any establishment mentioned shall knowingly allow any person with a criminal record to enter the premises of the establishment.

The bill also prohibits patrons from carrying firearms inside, consequently, depositing the same with the management or operator.

“For such purpose, operators or owners should secure a list of such citizens with criminal or questionable character from the NBI or the police agencies,” Malapitan said.

Malapitan said it will require superhuman efforts to curb criminality, but, he stressed, steps must be taken to minimize it.

“Psychologists, sociologists and others believe that intoxicating liquor and constant exposure to equally intoxicating environments cause criminality,” Malapitan said.

Malapitan said proper steps must be taken to regulate the usual sources of these crime-stimulants – nightclub, bars and similar establishments.

“There are so many more social evils that could be prevented if these establishments were totally banned, but because our people must be allowed some pleasures to relax a tired and weary body, these establishments should be regulated instead.  We also must have to weigh the economic side of the issue with public interest as the bottom line,” Malapitan said.

Malapitan said the clientele of these establishments are not altogether people with affluent means.  Some are low-salaried employees who must resort to graft and corruption to finance their nocturnal activities in their lives.

“Others are minors who must resort to dubious ways for making money to sustain their pleasures.  Those, being of tender age, should have not been allowed inside in the first place,” Malapitan said.

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