by Roanne Therese Almonina
University of Santo Tomas Journalism program
CANDON CITY, ILOCOS SUR—Nightclubs and restobars in this northern Luzon city are in contrary to an amended code of general ordinances, but the authorities have no action yet regarding to it.
For example, in Barangay Darapidap, the Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State Colleges campus there is surrounded by restobars.
It was stated in Ordinance No. 478, “Condition for the operation of Night clubs, beer gardens, disco houses and the like: 1. No nightclubs, cabarets, bars, beer houses, beer gardens, disco pubs, video bar or pub house shall be established within a radius of one hundred fifty (150) lineal meters from any educational, religious, or public institutions such as schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, churches or chapels, or government offices. They shall only be established along the national highway/provincial road at Barangays Paras, San Nicholas, and along the shoreline on the City of Candon”.
A citizen living near the college said, “there are students in uniform (but polo was removed), who are drinking liquors and beers there (pointing at the restobar near their house)”.
However, another clubhouse in Barangay Paras (located along MacArthur Highway) named Farmers (located just beside Northern Ilocandia College of Science and Technology, and in front of a branch of the Land Transportation Office) was closed because of this ordinance.
The nearest bar now from NICOSAT College is Grand Estelle, approximately 175 meters away. Next is Bojek, about 200 meters and Apple’s which is about 235 meters away from NICOSAT College, according to Municipal Engineer Florante Galut.
It was also said that bars operate in Barangay Paras and were said to be showing indecent shows, a violation under Ordinance No. 478.
A frequent visitor of one of the bars in Barangay Paras who refused to be named, said that “during this event called “Big Night” which happens once a month which I pay 200-500 pesos for the entrance fee . . . these girls are getting off of their clothes while dancing in the stage.”
“From what I know these girls came from different places in Luzon such as Manila, Baguio, Pangasinan, La Union, etc.,” he said.
Pieces of evidence are still being gathered to check on these alleged lewd shows, said Angie Rubang, Sanitary Health Inspector III of the city government.
Rubang added these girls are called “hospitality girls of the city” and they receive a health benefit from the local government of Candon which is a free pop smear for twice a month in the city health office.
Under Prohibition (d) in Ordinance No 478, guest relations officers (GROs) are not allowed to display in front of the bars, night clubs, or beer houses and the like.
Late at night, along the highways, there are girls in skimpy and flirty dresses who are seated in line, in front of the bar they are working for.
A motorist said: “Sa tuwing dadaan ako sa lugar na ‘to (Barangay Paras), nandyan ‘yung mga babae at lalo na pag Biyernes, Sabado at Linggo mas madami pa sila.”
A citizen near the bars said that these bars, specifically the bars located along the national highways, “are destroying the face of Candon”.
Ordinance No. 478 provides penalties on those found to be violating the provision: a fine of P5,000 for the first offense; P5,000 fine plus a 15-daya suspension of operation for the second offense; and a closure of the establishment as well as revocation of the mayor’s business permit for a third offense.
This issue facing nightclubs and restobars is currently being deliberated at the City Council.
(Ms. Almonina is a sophomore journalism student of the University of Santo Tomas, and submitted this story for her News Writing 1 class.)