Briones: Liquor ban?

Publio J. Briones III
·2 min read

I WAS going to write about what Hong Kong residents fleeing from Beijing’s “draconian” policies could expect once they got to their place of sanctuary.

I mean, I still find it hard to believe that they would rather be in a foreign land, where residents would look at them differently, where they would stand out because of the color of their skin, because of the shape of their eyes and because of the way they speak English. And all for what? Because they couldn’t live without the values their colonial masters had instilled when they were young?

Are “freedom of speech, fair elections, liberties” so intrinsic to human existence then that they couldn’t live without them?

For hundreds of millions of their countrymen who have been lifted out of poverty, having enough to eat, a roof over their heads or a job must be the freedom they far more cherish than the esoteric concept introduced to them by a foreign invader.

I’m sure if you ask one of the many homeless on our streets, they’ll find freedom of speech, fair elections and liberties overrated, assuming they understand what these all mean.

But what am I saying?

There are far more pressing matters on our shores that need to be threshed out.

And yes, I’m referring to Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella’s latest executive order that reimposes the liquor ban.

Now, if there’s one thing that humanity shouldn’t live without, it’s alcohol. And I’m not talking about Casino or Green Cross. It’s what makes life worthwhile. Or so I heard. At least, that’s what some people tell me.

At any rate, I’m here to make a clarification.

For one thing, it’s not really a ban.

Residents can still buy their favorite choice of spirit at the grocery, convenience store or their neighborhood sari-sari store, but they can only drink at home. Hotels, too, can serve in-house guests.

What the City forbids is the serving of alcohol in bars and restaurants.

You see, it found out that half of the establishments local police inspected last month as part of their Oplan Bulabog did not implement social distancing inside premises or comply with the directive to sell only up to two bottles or two orders of liquor per customer. Somehow, it has managed to link the latter to the latest rise in the number of coronavirus cases in the city.

Whether I find merit in the latter is beside the point. I’m not here to argue with the mayor, who I heard is still recuperating from an ear infection.

I just want the people to know that if they run out of “juice,” they don’t have to go to the next city or town to get it.