Far-flung Cordillera communities follow liquor ban rule

By Dionisio Dennis, Jr.

May 14, 2018, 9:33 pm

TUBA, Benguet -- Grocery stores and other establishments in this remote Ansagan village in this upland province have padlocked their shelves containing liquor, while some covered them with black cloth to remind the public that the liquor ban is on for the May 14 elections,

Neighborhood sari-sari stores in this village, about three hours' walk from the center of the town, had to be reminded of the liquor ban but they, themselves, reminded villagers nobody should get drunk on election day.

“There is no reason not to comply with the rules on liquor ban before and during the election, even if we are distant away from the municipal town,” Delia Dawat, owner of the only sari-sari store in Sitio Piminggan, said in Ilokano.

Dawat said Filipinos everywhere should follow the law, even if there is no policemen or law enforcers around.

Ansagan is the biggest village in Tuba town and has four sitios--Lubas, Ansagan proper, Saguitlang, and Piminggan. Houses here are no way beside each other and the sitios are more than 10 kilometers apart.

In Sitio Piminggan, there are only five houses near each other. The nearest neighboring community has about four houses, located about 500 meters away or an estimated walking distance of 20 minutes on ascending and descending mountain slopes.

Manong Roberto Damping, a resident of Sitio Piminggan, related that liquor is always present whenever residents meet for a chat, and a glass is always passed from one person to another.

A discussion about the election is also a reason for the villagers to get together, he said, but added they opt to wait until the liquor ban is done with.

"We wait for the election to pass before we start drinking again,” he said.

He related that when he was a teenager, there was no such thing as a "liquor ban".

"But now that we've grown older and have our grandchildren, we want to be models to the teenagers now," he said.

Ansagan has a population of 2,600, of which 1,200 are eligible to vote. There is no electricity in almost all the sitios--a very remote place in the first class town of Tuba.

In a related report, the Police Regional Office Cordillera (PROCOR) said on Monday the cops in the region arrested 65 persons a day before the Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election for violation of the liquor ban, which lasts from Saturday midnight to midnight on Monday.

In Baguio, there were 30 people arrested, while 35 others were nabbed in the province of Benguet.

Under the Omnibus Election Code, selling, offering, buying, serving, or taking liquor is strictly prohibited on election day. (PNA)