Davao junks SMC’s plea to sell alcoholic drinks

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 May) – The city government has declined the request of San Miguel Corporation to sell alcoholic beverages here amid the 24/7 liquor ban as one of the measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Mayor Sara Duterte said on Thursday.

Traffic is back along Matina near the GSIS buidling on Day 1 of the General Community Quarantine on 16 May 2020. Davao City was placed on community quarantine on March 15, enhanced community quarantine on April 4 and general community quarantine from 12:01 a.m. on May 16 to 11:59 p.m. on May 31. MindaNews photo by CAROLYN O. ARGUILLAS

In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5), Duterte said she received a letter from the company asking her to allow it to resume selling beers, which was halted when the local government imposed the ban nearly two months ago.

The mayor said that while she recognized the assistance of the conglomerate in the city’s food distribution efforts for the families affected by the outbreak, “unfortunately, our hands are tied” due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the city.

SMC, a food and beer giant, had donated chickens to the local government’s food relief efforts.

“We are very thankful for their help. You know what, we have distributed so many chickens that came from the donation of San Miguel Corporation. We are so thankful for your help but, unfortunately, our hands are tied,” she said.

With the extension of general community quarantine (GCQ) until June 15, Duterte said the 24/7 ban on liquor would remain in effect.

“But you can always consume it inside your house if you have remaining stocks there. It’s not prohibited when you drink it inside your house but you cannot buy and you cannot sell,” she said.

She said the local government opted to extend the liquor ban since there have been confirmed COVID-19-positive patients who have acquired the infection during drinking sessions.

“It would have been okay only if those people who are complaining have self-discipline, and they will not drink with other people but, unfortunately, we have a few cases in Agdao whose patient history indicated they had drinking session on these dates. So we are now looking for those people whom they had drinking session with because we need to screen, test, and put them in quarantine,” she said.

The Inter-Agency Task Force For the Management of Emerging Infections in the Philippines has extended the implementation of GCQ until June 15 in the cities of Davao and Zamboanga City.

In its Resolution 40 released on Thursday, the two cities are the only areas in Mindanao classified as “moderate risk” due to the increasing number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. The rest of Mindanao has been placed under a modified GCQ from June 1 to June 15, without prejudice to the declaration of localized enhanced community quarantine in critical areas.

The rest of Davao Region as well as the rest of Zamboanga Region have been placed under MGCQ.

Also under the MGCQ are Northern Mindanao, Soccsksargen, Caraga Region and the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)