Editorial: ID as a requirement

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

THE "no ID, no cigarette/liquor" policy is one of the notable legislations that the 17th City Council is presently cooking.

The would-be policy is the brainchild of Davao City Vice Mayor Paolo Z. Duterte in an attempt to stop minors from getting access to cigarettes and alcohol.

While the proposal will help to reduce the number of minors buying alcohol and cigarettes, the move has been slightly criticized by Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte as something that is impractical.


The elder Duterte said anybody, especially minors, can carry fake documents just so one can smoke or drink.

In some other countries, similar rules are in place to prevent youths who may look older than they are from buying restricted substances but usually, the standard is set much lower.

For example, in Australia, the legal age to buy cigarettes and alcohol is 18. However, store operators are required to ask for ID if a customer looks like they might be under 25.

This manifests the fact that many people do look older than they are but does not severely impact on those who are well and truly of age.

Some have pointed out that requiring customers to produce ID will mean that the customers buying cigarettes and alcohol will be inconvenienced by the extra requirement.

The other issue was that getting the birth dates of customers is an invasion of privacy.

Is the would-be rule a bit excessive?

Davao City is known to having local laws that are aimed at protecting its people in all aspects, may it be health, security, among others, and Dabawenyos are used to it.

This would-be policy at hand is actually an amendment to an existing ordinance which prohibits minors aged 17 and below from buying and selling cigarettes and liquors. The Council wants to add more teeth by mandating everybody to present IDs.

Based on the draft of the proposed amendment of the City Council here, all business owners -- from small sari-sari stores to grocery and convenience stores -- are "mandated to determine the age of their would-be buyers by requiring them to present their identification documents that establish or indicate the person's age before selling or serving to them liquors and cigarettes."

Identification documents include school ID, employee's ID, and other government-issued ID such as driver's license, voter's ID, SSS/GSIS ID, PRC card, or postal ID.

The proposal provides that anyone who violates the proposed ordinance will be required to pay the fine of P10,000 or be imprisoned for 10 days for first offense; pay P30,000 or be imprisoned for 20 days for second offense; and pay P50,000 or be jailed for 30 days for third offense.

The "no I.D., no cigarette/alcohol policy" is something that the Council should zero in and study further.

One important point they have to consider is how to educate business owners/vendors identify fake documents, recognize minors from mature-looking buyers, among others.

Moreover, it is unconstitutional to force a person from obtaining an ID.

We are not saying this is a total scrap. We are suggesting that the proposal needs supplementary review and should be treated warily.

Once OK'd, this policy will be one of Davao City's laudable landmark legislations.


Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 11, 2014.


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