Philippine President-elect Duterte set to impose late-night liquor ban, child curfew

An admirer taking a selfie with a cut-out image of Mr Duterte at a restaurant in Davao city, southern Philippines.
An admirer taking a selfie with a cut-out image of Mr Duterte at a restaurant in Davao city, southern Philippines.PHOTO: REUTERS

President-elect Duterte set to impose strict quality-of-life policies

A day after being hailed as victor in the Philippine presidential race, maverick anti-crime mayor Rodrigo Duterte vowed to keep his campaign promises.

His spokesman Peter Lavina told reporters that Mr Duterte would impose a curfew on minors and ban late-night drinking as well as loud karaoke singing,

Mr Duterte, 71, won a crushing victory with lofty pledges to end crime and corruption in six months. He drew millions of Filipinos during his campaigning with expletives-laden speeches that trumpeted his achievements as long- time mayor of Davao city.

Davao has gone from being a battleground between vigilantes and communist partisans in the 1980s to one of the nation's safest and most business-friendly cities.

Besides waging a brutal war on crime, Mr Duterte also implemented quality-of-life policies. He imposed a curfew for unescorted minors after 10pm, and banned consumption of alcohol after 10pm and boisterous crooning to music videos after 9pm.

These policies are set to go nationwide, said Mr Lavina. He insisted that the measures have "nothing to do with denying us of our freedoms".

Besides waging a brutal war on crime in Davao, Mr Duterte implemented quality-of-life policies. He imposed a curfew for unescorted minors after 10pm, and banned consumption of alcohol after 10pm and boisterous crooning to music videos after 9pm. These policies are set to go nationwide, said Mr Lavina.

 
 

"This liquor ban is because we have to work the next day. We have a ban on loud karaoke because everyone has to go to bed," he said.

He said the curfew on minors is "to make sure our children are in their homes, sleeping and preparing for their next day of school".

It was unclear if Mr Duterte would also pursue two other strictly enforced Davao statutes - a ban on smoking in public places, including the streets, and a speed limit of 30kmh. The announcements have drawn mixed responses.

The alcohol ban "is the right thing to do. We'll just have to drink earlier", said Mr Julius Encarnado, 38, of Laguna, 50km south of the capital Manila. He confessed to being a hard drinker once, and said he did not vote for Mr Duterte.

Call centre employee Ella Salvacion, 42, a karaoke regular, doubts Mr Duterte could implement a curfew, and a liquor and karaoke ban, especially in Manila.

"I think there's already a curfew (in parts of Manila). There are posters (announcing a curfew), but that's it. No one's obeying it," said Ms Salvacion, who voted for Senator Grace Poe. "People will just look for ways around (the ban). They will just be quieter with their singing, and drink indoors."

Ms Abel Castro, 46, an entrepreneur and a fervent supporter of Mr Duterte, agrees with a liquor ban, though she thinks it will hurt the "nightlife industry".

One big supporter of Mr Duterte likely to be hurt by an alcohol ban is tycoon Lucio Tan, 81, owner of Asia Brewery, one of the country's biggest liquor companies.

Mr Duterte's aides yesterday said they have formed a committee to handle the handover of key executive posts.

President Benigno Aquino has named Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa as head of his "transition team". "We are committed to effecting the smoothest transition possible," said Mr Aquino.

Mr Duterte leads by more than six million votes in a government- sanctioned tally. Once officially declared the winner, he will be inaugurated as the Philippines' 16th president on June 30.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2016, with the headline 'Filipinos facing late-night liquor ban, child curfew'. Print Edition | Subscribe