Lawmakers are working on a bill to stamp out the anti-social use of videoke machines late at night.
The House of Representatives Committee on Public Order and Safety hopes to limit the use of sing-along and other sound amplifying devices to between 8am and 10pm.
The measure, proposed by Congresswoman Angelina Tan, aims to prevent unnecessary disturbance in residential areas, and also prevent any negative social or health effects.
Under House Bill No. 1035 – “An Act Prohibiting the use of Videoke/Karaoke systems and Other Sound Amplifying Equipment that Cause Unnecessary Disturbance to the Public within the Residential Areas, and Providing Penalties Therefor” – the operation of such equipment audible from more than 50 feet away would be considered a violation.
Other devices named in the bill include radios, CD players, television sets, amplified musical instruments and loudspeakers.
Any person or business premises violating the rules would face a fine of 1,000 pesos or an imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
For succeeding offences, both penalties would apply, in addition to the revocation of any relevant business licences.
If the violation was committed by a corporation, partnership, association or similar entity, the president, general manager or most senior officers would be held liable.
During the committee hearing today (Tuesday, March 13) Tan stressed the need for national legislation on the issue, saying it had “not only caused quarrels and divisions among our neighbourhoods, but also death to some individuals”.
Ruby Palma, of the Friends of the Environment in Negros Oriental, said the “proliferation of videoke business gave rise to serious neighbourhood quarrels,” and has “compromised the resting time especially of children, pregnant women and the elderly”.
She also suggested five amendments to be added to the bill:
•designation of areas where videoke/karaoke and similar equipment would be allowed
•requirement of structural sound-proofing
•setting maximum sound volume level
•setting maximum time use for private and home use of equipment
•monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of the law’s implementation
However, Romeo Acop, a vice-chairman of the committee, pointed out that existing presidential decrees already addressed noise pollution.
In response, Tan said these laws did not “squarely address President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy pronouncement of enforcing a 10pm ban on videoke/karaoke singing”.
The president has previously pressed local authorities to stamp out noisy late-night karaoke sessions. He also imposed the same ordinance when Mayor of Davao City.