LIQUOR BAN. Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque holds a virtual presser on Monday (April 20, 2020). Roque said Malacañang leaves to local government officials the discretion of whether to lift the total liquor ban or not amid the enhanced community quarantine to contain the coronavirus disease. (Screenshot)

MANILA – Malacañang on Monday said it will leave to the local government officials to decide whether to lift the total ban on alcoholic beverages in their respective cities and provinces amid the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon and some parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this remark after major liquor makers in the country appealed for the government to lift the liquor ban, saying it has resulted in a negative impact in their businesses and among their workers.

Roque recognized that only some cities and provinces included a liquor ban as part of additional guidelines under the ECQ, but said it is still the local government officials' discretion to lift it.

“Well, ang liquor ban naman po ay nai-impose, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, ng mga iba’t ibang LGUs (The liquor ban is being imposed, if I’m not mistaken, by different LGUs),” he said in a virtual presser.

He said the decision to lift the ban which prohibits residents and establishments from buying and selling liquors, alcoholic beverages, coconut wines, will still depend on local government executives.

“Alam ko po ang Quezon City ay may liquor ban. Pero may ilang mga bayan dito sa Metro Manila na wala naman pong liquor ban. Hinahayaan lang po natin iyan na desisyunan ng ating mga lokal na mga mayor (I know there is a liquor ban in Quezon City. But there are other cities in Metro Manila that do not have a liquor ban. We will allow the mayors to decide on this matter),” he said.

The cities of Manila, Mandaluyong, Quezon City and the provinces of Albay, Bohol, La Union are some of the LGUs in the country which imposed a total ban on alcoholic beverages during the ECQ.

In a letter addressed to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, the Center for Alcohol Research and Development Foundation Inc. (CARD) asked the government to consider the plight of workers that benefited from the liquor industry.

CARD noted that if the liquor ban continues, the industry can no longer survive and in turn, affect a large sector of the community.

The group also stressed that the ECQ has already restricted movement, which in turn has contained people's buying freedom. (PNA)