Cities reckon with downsides of thriving nightlife industry

Conclusion

HORSES used to graze this land.

Hence, most residents on Burgos Street-Makati Avenue did not imagine in their younger years that the area would be one of the most thriving business locales in the metropolis.

Marieta (not her real name), resident of the area for four decades, recalled that the current business area was once teeming with talahib (wild cane).

She said its growth as a business hub began during the term of then-Mayor Nemesio I. Yabut. The area continued to witness the rise of entertainment establishments afterward.

According to a property-management company, land values on Burgos Street, Makati Avenue, can range from P180,000 per square meter (sq m) to P220,000 per sq m. Prices increase relative to a buyer’s level of interest on the property. Leasing rates here range from P1,500 per sq m to P2,000 per sq m.

According to Marieta, incidents she recall occurring in the area involved customers failing to pay streetwalkers and the rounding up of transvestites prowling the area for customers.

“The barangay people apprehend the people who are offering oral sex service in the dark areas in the area,” she said. The area is now under the radar of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

Binge drinking

ACCORDING to officials of the MMDA, the unbridled sale of liquor by bars, nightclubs and restaurants, like those operating along the Padre Burgos Street on Makati Avenue,  leads to drunk driving.

Bars, nightclubs and other business establishments serving alcohol should have a strict guideline or system that will determine if a particular customer has already reached his or her maximum alcohol tolerance level, according to the MMDA.

This will help prevent accidents happening during nighttime involving intoxicated drivers who usually come from bars or nightclubs.

“It’s about time the government should have some kind of control over these business establishments,” former MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino was earlier quoted as saying.

Tolentino has said most of the drunk drivers the MMDA have apprehended or who have figured in accidents are those who just came from a drinking binge at bars and nightclubs.

He said these nightspots are making a killing by offering “beer promos” at outrageously low prices, which only encourage customers to buy more and get inebriated.

“Those ‘beer bucket’ promos lure customers to drink more,” he said. “And once they are into it, they forget they still have to drive home.”

Rules, proposals

THE MMDA has formed a team that goes around the prominent bars and nightclubs in Metro Manila to check on the operation of these establishments. “We have to have a rule wherein a customer should no longer be served any alcoholic drinks if his or her blood alcohol concentration level has already reached, for example, 0.08 percent,” Tolentino has said.

Tolentino also ordered a thorough study about the legal implications of this situation.

According to the MMDA, other countries have stricter laws against drunk driving and have adopted stringent measures, such as on-the-spot breath analysis. Likewise, former president and now Pampanga Second District Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has  filed a bill seeking to criminalize drunk driving.

Her son, former Rep. Diosdado Arroyo of the Second District of Camarines Sur, coauthored House Bill 382 that, if passed into law, will slap a P5,000 fine and a two-month suspension of the driver’s license of first-time offenders. It also sets a P6,000 fine and a three-month suspension of driver’s license for second-time offenders. For the third offense, the penalty is set at P7,000 and six-month suspension of the driver’s license.

Succeeding offenses will result in a P7,000 fine and automatic revocation of a driver’s license.

In filing the bill, Mrs. Arroyo cited studies showing that drunk drivers have a higher risk of being involved in a road accident than those who have not consumed alcohol.

She also mentioned a Philippine Statistics Authority report showing that in 2009, there has been a 6.2-percent increase in alcohol-related accidents nationwide resulting to death, physical injuries and damage to properties.

Image Credits: Alysa Salen

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Claudeth Mocon-Ciriaco is a grant recipient and fellow of 2017 media fellowship program by Probe Media Foundation Inc. She is a graduate of Bachelor of Mass Communication from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM). After graduating in 2000 she immediately worked as a newspaper correspondent for Today Newspaper until 2005. Within those five years in Today Newspaper, she was assigned to cover the Eastern Police and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), Rizal Province, and the Departments of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and Tourism (DOT). In October of 2005, she became a correspondent for the Philippine Business Daily Mirror Publishing, Inc. She covers Health, Education, MMDA, the local government units in the eastern and southern portions of the metropolis, and Rizal Province.

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