“Be transparent,” Dipolog City Council urged as author of liquor rule says critics are "misinformed"

The HRRAD letter, according to Capili, was “our official reply when some members of the city council told us that our stand and opposition to the proposed ordinance was misinformed”.

 “After we expressed our collective stand opposing the passing of the proposed measure, Hon. (Horacio) Velasco said the group was misinformed because the city council already revised the original proposal to regulate the selling and serving liquor in the city,” Capili said in a telephone interview.

Velasco, a medical doctor by profession, is the author of the proposed ordinance that seeks “to regulate the sale, service and dispensation of liquor and other alcoholic drinks” by requiring all business establishments selling liquor to secure permit and allowing the sale and serving of liquor from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m only.

The proposed ordinance has been passed on second reading.

Velasco was quoted by local media as saying that the original draft of the proposed ordinance had been revised after several consultations and that  only videoke bars and nightclubs were prohibited to sell and serve liquor before  6 p.m. and beyond 3 a.m.

“The city council completely missed our main contention that the proposed measure is repressive because it seeks to curtail the freedom of every individual to do what pleases him as long as he does it with responsibility and utmost consideration for other people’s right,” Capili said.

In a meeting at the West End Court Inn on April 23, HRRAD members said the proposed ordinance is “insensitive and an alarming piece of legislation that encroaches upon the sacred right of every individual to exercise their freedom to choose.”

Capili added: “What is more alarming here is that the city council appeared to have disregarded the need to consult the general public who will be affected once the proposed ordinance is passed.”

“Even to secure a copy of the said proposed measure was denied to me,” he said.

In his letter, Capili told the city council: “Granting that the HRRAD position was ‘misinformed’ and erred for mentioning the Honorable Napigquit as co-author of the proposed measure, it was borne not by sheer malice on our part but by the refusal of the city council’s secretariat in giving us a copy of the proposed ordinance.”

Previous reports named City Councilor Julius Napigquit as co-author of the proposed ordinance. But the councilor clarified that he was not a co-author.

“In the spirit of fairness, I owe Honorable Napigquit an apology for naming him as co-author of the proposed ordinance as I was made to believe based on the documents

available to me. But the members of the august body must also share the same magnanimity to me in agreeing to my opinion that the city council’s secretariat did not only err but violated my right as a citizen and a taxpayer to have access to public documents,” Capili countered.

He  said the city council must be “transparent and be accountable by letting the general public have access to information and documents that are of public import.”

In the absence of a copy of the proposed ordinance, he said, “the people of Dipolog are at a loss and will not know what hit them if the ordinance will be approved and implemented, which is clearly a violation to our right to information.”

“But the HRRAD remains firm in its stand that the proposed measure, revised or unrevised, is clearly a repressive piece of legislation,” Capili asserted as he urged the city council to drop the measure. (Antonio M. Manaytay/MindaNews)