Ordinance revision: CAIB drops ‘sans court order’ line in proposal

May B. Miasco/RHM (The Freeman) - August 6, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Heeding the media sector’s sentiment, the Cebu City Anti-Indecency Board has removed a provision in its proposed amendment to City Ordinance 1408 that should have allowed the body to seize any printed or published materials it deems “indecent” without a prior court order.

CAIB, however, stood pat on its stand that establishment owners and managers shall give full access any time to its deputies enforcing the ordinance.

“The opposition (from the media practitioners) was deliberated thoroughly by the members of CCAIB and in unanimous vote they agreed to remove a phrase which is the source of the objection,” said City Administrator and CAIB Chairwoman Lucille Mercado, during a City Council public hearing last Wednesday.

Ordinance 1408 is the “Revised Ordinance Creating the Cebu City Anti-Indecency Board Which Shall Pass upon the Exhibition, Printing, Circulation, or Sale of Obscene Pictures, Films, Books, or Publications, Stage Shows and Skits in the City of Cebu.”

Section 3 of the proposed amendatory ordinance states that “owners, managers or promoters shall give full and unconditional access to the board or its duly authorized members or deputies in order to conduct inspection or investigation of their establishments at any time of the day or night even without any prior court order.”

In her four-minute speech, Mercado said she hopes that with the removal of the phrase, “without any prior court order,” which was “vehemently opposed” by the media for being illegal and unlawful, the proposed amendatory ordinance will no longer be objected to.

The City Council referred the proposed ordinance, which seeks to amend Sections 3, 6, 7, and 12 to strengthen CAIB’s mandate, to the body for its review and recommendations at the conclusion of the public hearing.

“CCAIB needs our help in order for them to have an effective implementation of its mandate embodied in the proposed amendatory ordinance and identified areas. We are of the position now…that we, as the elected members of the City Council, have embraced the challenge against the new kind of revolution, a revolution on moral opinion. We will protect our city against the onslaught of immorality,” declared City Councilor Lea Japson, who was the proponent of the proposed amendatory ordinance.

In proposing the amendments, CAIB recognized that the ordinance should be adjusted to the changing business environment, as enforcement of its mandate has been made difficult.

Establishments covered by the ordinance include bookstores, magazine shops, newspaper stands, adult stores, theaters, night clubs, beerhouses, KTV or cocktail lounges, spa and massage parlors or massage clinics, sauna bath parlors, and other similar establishments.

“In their (CCAIB deputies) inspection and surveillance, it was observed that these areas are the most vulnerable on the exhibition of nude or obscene publications as well performing nude and obscene acts,” said Mercado.

She argued that “if CCAIB, on its inspection, of course with the attendance of the owner or manager of the establishment, will find the magazines or printed articles which is obscene in nature, and without any redeeming element except to exert a corrupting influence especially with the youth,” then the materials should be seized for being obscene and offensive to morals.

She also said that there are some spa and massage parlors that offer “lingam and yuni” massage, which she said is “without health value, but simply the act of manipulating the genitals.”

She likewise said that KTV operators allow nude shows and even sexual acts in their establishments.

“CAIB must be empowered to enter the said premises to check and inspect (for) any found to be violating the city ordinance to stop the acts immediately. The city needs to amend City Ordinance 1408 to save it from the overwhelming pressure of immorality,” Mercado said.  (FREEMAN)

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