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'Silent night' ordinance hurdles second reading

BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on second reading the proposed "Silent Night" ordinance which seeks to prohibit persons from making or causing "excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud sounds from audio devices within residential areas and public streets" in the City.

Author Councilor Edgar Avila said the proposal was subjected to a public hearing and the suggestions as well as the recommendations gathered during the deliberation by the City Council were incorporated in the draft measure.

The proposal was premised on the fact that "people look forward to going home after a hard day's work or after school and expect an evening of rest, peaceful bliss and good night's sleep (but) at times, they are deprived of the well-deserved peace because of rowdy, noisy parties or gatherings in the neighborhood and neighbors and strangers who take for granted the well-being of others and think only of their own enjoyment."

"More often than not disputes stem out of this charades which even result to violence, injury and damage to property, thus a need to address this basic community concern," Avila stressed in the measure.

As proposed, the measure will make it "unlawful for any person to make or cause 'excessive, unnecessary, or unusually loud sounds' from audio devices within residential areas, subdivisions and public streets" from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

As specified in the proposal, audio devices would include karaokes, videokes, amplifiers and musical instruments while a sound would be considered too loud if plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from its origin.

"Unreasonably loud noise is operating, playing or permitting the operation or playing of any radio, CD player, television set, amplified musical instrument, drums, loudspeaker, videoke or karaoke system or other sound producing device in such manner or with such volume so as to annoy the quiet and comfort of a reasonable person of normal sensitivities in any dwelling or residence; or with louder volume than is necessary for convenient hearing of the persons who are in the place in which such device is operated."

The proposal however may allow the use of videokes or karaokes until 12 midnight provided that the resident concerned would secure a permit from the Punong Barangay five days before the intended use and commit to keep their volume to "acceptable" levels.

Other exemptions would be during the Christmas Holiday Season provided that schools have declared their respective Christmas Holidays or from December 16 of the year and January 2 thereafter;

Duuring the All Saints Day and All Souls Day Celebration and other holidays defined as National or Local Holidays; the Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga Celebration;

During wakes subject to the permit requirement and such other occasions as may be deemed by the Punong Barangay as applicable also subject to the permit requirement.

As proposed, the ordinance would be implemented by the Punong Barangay in coordination with the Chair of the Peace and Order Council of the Barangay and the Baguio City Police Office.

For the proposed penalties, a verbal order would be given to violators to tone down the noise. However, if the violation is deemed excessive, violators will be subjected to a fine of P1,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both shall be imposed for the first offense; P3,000 for the second offense and P5,000 for the third offense. – Aileen P. Refuerzo

 
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