Liquor ban and social gatherings
The Office of the City Mayor recently re leased an executive order banning the sale of liquor and regulating social gatherings. Of course, this is all in relation to mitigating the spread of the coronavirus.
Over the weekend, I was invited to a baptism reception. The day before the said event, my friend sent me a message that they are cancelling the event. Officials from their barangay cited the executive order from the Mayor’s Office as the basis for now allowing the event. On the day of the event, I received a message from my friend informing me that the event will push through as planned.
I inquired how it was made possible that the event was allowed. Apparently, they were able to complete some documentation and promised to follow several rules, including all the health protocols.
A notebook was provided for guests to list down their names, addresses and mobile numbers. Temperatures were also taken. All these include a printed permit issued by the barangay. I was told that the permit was paid to the barangay but I wasn't able to inquire how much they paid for it.
Parties in the Philippines will never be complete without bottles of gin or cases of beer. There may be lots of food and cases of soft drinks, but the party is boring without guests getting drunk. Alcohol is integral to merry making here in the Philippines even during this time of pandemic.
The consumer price index includes liquor, alcoholic beverages and tobacco in one category in the consumers’ basket of goods. In the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Office for the month of November 2020, the category of alcohol and tobacco remains to be among the categories taking the biggest part of household expenditures for income levels.
For those at the bottom 30 percent income households, ironically, they record a higher percentage of the household budget going to the category for alcoholic beverages and tobacco.
Let’s analyze this situation from the perspective of both suppliers and demanders.
On the demand- side, as was mentioned earlier, there is a high demand for alcohol. We expect a higher demand for these beverages especially now as the Christmas holidays draw near.
With this new order, well, we know that this year’s Christmas celebration for most households will be one that is memorable because everybody will remain sober throughout the celebrations.
With lesser ( to no) consumption, this would only mean that there will be lesser expenses on liquor. This may, in turn, mean that the household will have more savings or would divert their spending on more food.
On the other hand, on the supply-side, producers and sellers are expected to earn much lesser revenues and incomes due to this new order from the Office of the City Mayor. Those that are affected with this are mostly local enterprises.
The city has allowed the entry of more people from other regions, focused on increasing tourism activities in the city, with the end result improving the general economy of our city. This, while essentially killing other local enterprises with the liquor ban.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for preventing the spread of the coronavirus, but there seems to be a very obvious sway towards tourists rather than locals. Tourists can come and enjoy the holidays here, but we, locals, cannot enjoy ours with all the orders that government officials keep on releasing. This, while tourists seem to be immuned not only to the virus, but also to orders coming from the most powerful office of the city.
Which makes me think, are the local electorate still the priority of the city’s elected officials?