MMDA to ask Comelec to extend liquor ban to 45 days

Pedestrians walk past a store selling alcoholic beverages at a mall in Manila on January 1, 2013. A "sin tax" on cigarettes and alcohol dampened the New Year party spirit when it was introduced in the Philippines on January 1, as part of a government bid to boost finances

Citing public safety especially during the election period, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority is preparing a petition asking the Commission on Elections to extend the liquor ban to 45 days instead of the present 24 hours before Election Day.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said Sunday an extended liquor ban could prevent vehicular accidents as well as political debates made violent by drinking sprees.

“Bakit ang liquor ban isang araw lang? Bakit hindi natin gawing 45 days? Ang liquor ban nakakatulong din hindi lang sa pag-prevent ng road accidents o influence sa kampanya sa halalan at pag-prevent ng criminality. Sa probinsiya halos lahat na kinakampanya pinainom eh, 'di pinag-uusapan ang election issues, lasingan 'yan,” Tolentino said in an interview on dzBB radio.

He said such a ban, which would be similar to bans on guns and public works during the election period, would also help protect the integrity of the election period.

But he said there may be possible exemptions such as restaurants and legitimate establishments.

A separate report by radio dzBB's Rodil Vega said Tolentino wants the liquor ban to coincide with the election period, which started Sunday and ends June 12.

He added he is planning to file the petition initially within this week.

Tolentino appealed to the public to show their support for such a proposal via Twitter and Facebook.

“If we can generate positive response we can file (the petition with the Comelec) as early as this week,” he said.

“Handa natin i-argue 'yan sa Comelec pero ang purpose natin dito is public safety, save lives and protect integrity of the election period,” he added. —KG, GMA News