So yeah, you might have heard of the Vice Mayor’s recent proposal: to implement liquor ban 2 hours earlier, that’s 12 midnight for us now. Previously, the 2AM liquor ban was a little bit difficult; as most “parties” just take flight after midnight. However, we, the people of Davao city, eventually got okay with it. Due to the 2AM liquor ban, bars usually had to call for last order by 12MN. Now that it has been pushed earlier, the reasonable call for last order would now be 10PM. Clubs aren’t even 40% full at this time. I shiver at the thought.
Not that I am a drunkard. Some days I just take time to unwind and yes, alcohol is one great stress reliever. Add to that good company and good food, of course. And I know a lot of people would agree with me. However, before I start telling you what I really think about this whole shebang, let me first get this thing straight: I am against this early ban.
Duterte says the earlier ban is “meant to help parents discipline children and keep them out of trouble”. He observed that the kids drinking in the bars and clubs are getting younger and younger. I don’t deny this. I often find girls cherish alcohol earlier than they develop breasts. However, I disagree with his solution. A better solution for this would be penalizing the bars that let these kids in! And the stores that sell alcohol should also follow the age requirement. Come on, this has worked all over the world: ask for IDs. Or, if one really wants to give a stronger deterrent, amp up police visibility in the “alcohol-heavy” areas. This way, most likely, trouble’s gonna shy away. It’s not that difficult, you know. I don’t get why this solution is just brushed under the rug.
Pushing the ban earlier would only send the message that yes, kids may still come in, they just get home earlier. And the latter’s not even that sure. After all, when these kids get bored after 12MN and they still have that extra energy, God knows what they might do next. We can’t make the decision for them and ultimately assume that they would go home because nobody’s selling drinks anymore.
Also, the idea on getting the kids to come home earlier by pushing the ban is not even that strong. There are a lot of reasons why kids stay out late, not just alcohol. They could simply be hanging out at a coffee shop, studying, doing drugs, gambling, on a date, music-jamming, making art or whatever. Moreover, let us analyze the decision-making process of these kids. When they decide to call it a day, what usually is the cause of this? Is it because the establishments do not sell drinks anymore? Or they just ran out of money/ places to go/ tired/ passed out? What scares me is that when drinks feel “bitin”, these kids might even look for other (more dangerous) things that mimic alcohol’s effect.
Another thing: let’s not forget that a great nightlife still helps tourism flourish. When tourists come here, we don’t expect them to go river rafting, ziplining or eating durian all night, do we? The sin tax was fine. Please don’t take this one away.
Lastly, I believe this ban wouldn’t change the way we love alcohol. What it might even do is push drinking to deeper underground channels, which means it would be harder to regulate/ monitor and the income of these bars and clubs would really end up wounded. Well that, or the kids start drinking at 6 to satisfy their usual hang-out requirement. Seriously, do any of these scenarios look good to you?