MMDA Seeks 45-Day Liquor Ban

MANILA, Philippines --- Citing that two days are not enough, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) seeks to extend the period of the liquor ban to 45 days during the election time, a move that is seen to reduce road accidents caused by drunk driving.

MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino said the agency will file a formal petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) within the week to ask the elections body to enforce a liquor ban simultaneously with the election gun ban that started Sunday, January 13.

Unlike the nationwide gun ban which is in effect from January 13 to June 12, the ban on liquor use is only enforced on May 12 and election day, May 13.

Expressing the MMDA support to Senate Bill 3365 increasing the penalty against driving under the influence (DUI) of liquor and illegal drugs, Tolentino said a 45-day liquor ban prior to the May 13, 2013 elections will help address the rise in road accidents caused by drunk driving.

Senator Gregorio Honasan, chairman of the committee on public order and dangerous drugs, endorsed the approval of SB 3365 last December.

''An extended liquor ban will serve two purposes - less crime, less road accidents,'' Tolentino said.

The MMDA chief appealed to netizens to support the MMDA's call for an extended liquor ban by starting an online campaign or filing a separate petition before the Comelec.

''We hope we can generate positive response from you (the public),'' said Tolentino, recognizing the power and influence of social networking sites.

''Road accidents brought about by drunk driving continue to increase from 2011 to 2012. We cannot say our roads are safe because despite our programs designed to reduce road accidents, there are still many drivers manning the wheels even when they're drunk, or worse, when they are high on drugs,'' Tolentino said.

Under SB 3365, a driver cited for DUI faces three-month imprisonment and a fine of P20,000 to P80,000 if the violation did not result in physical injuries or homicide.

If the violation resulted to physical injuries, one month to eight years imprisonment and a fine of P100,000 to P200,000 is charged against the violator.

On other hand, 12 years imprisonment and a fine of P300,000 or ''500,000 is charged against violations that resulted in homicide.

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