Mayor Genuino: Los Baños curfew is permanent, constitutional
Despite criticisms from residents, the mayor of Los Baños in Laguna justified Monday the necessity of imposing curfew and alcohol ban to protect the security and welfare of students in the university town.
“Just like any other ordinance which is permanent in nature, we will implement it unless repealed or amended through enactment of the Sangguniang Bayan,” Anthony Genuino told GMA News Online in a phone interview.
“The passage of an ordinance imposing municipal-wide curfew hours will protect our children from impending harm and danger during night time,” he added.
Municipal Ordinance No. 2012-1120, also known as the Anti-Loitering Ordinance, imposed a municipal-wide curfew on all Los Baños residents.
Under the law, minors are barred in public places, from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m, while adults are prohibited from 12 midnight to 4 a.m.
Noting a police-to-population ratio of 1: 2000, Genuino asserted, “we cannot depend solely on these authorities in ensuring public safety. Anti-crime efforts should involve residents, businesses, academe, and other sectors.”
He said consultations with different sectors of the community were done before enacting the ordinance, asserting that the alcohol ban–first enacted in 2004 and amended in 2008–is constitutional.
“Majority of the resto-bars are in the thickly populated barangay of Batong Malake, where the University of the Philippines is also located. Regulating their business is within the powers of the municipality, considering the greater good which is the security and welfare of the students,” he explained.
“We are just implementing an already existing law,” he added.
‘Authorities are giving up’
However, there are those who do not agree with the municipal government's position.
The “Keep Elbi Safe Page” through one of its administrators, former UPLB Professor Remi De Leon, believes the Anti-Loitering Ordinance does not help improve security.
“We believe that a general curfew does not make Elbi safer,” he said. “It only means that authorities are giving up on the responsibility of protecting public safety, which includes freedom of travel and movement,” he added.
De Leon noted the curfew violates Section 6 of the Bill of Rights, which safeguards an individual’s right to travel.
“We continue to call for better ways of keeping Elbi safe–ways which do not abridge the freedoms and inherent rights of Los Baños' citizens,” De Leon added. —VS, GMA News
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