The City Council is set to discuss in today’s session the proposed ordinance mandating all business establishments, such as hotels and resorts, to book pregnant women, persons with disabilities, and senior citizens on the first floor in cases of emergencies.
The said ordinance, authored by Councilor Wilberto Al-ag, the council’s committee chair on social services, was approved on first reading during the regular session last Dec. 3, 2019, as an initiative of the local government given the recent earthquake incidents in the city.
Davao del Sur was previously hit by a magnitude 6.9 earthquake in December last year. Tremors and aftershocks were felt on-and-off in this city, which caused panic and fear among the citizens.
On Dec. 6, 2019, the lawmaker received a letter from Vice Mayor Sebastian Z. Duterte expressing his concern to the person with disabilities, elderly and pregnant women given the recent earthquakes here.
The vice mayor stated in his letter that to ensure the safety of pregnant women, PWDs, and the elderly, they should have “priority to stay in the first or lower floor of business establishments in the city.”
He has also requested that an ordinance be drafted in response to the matter.
“Business establishments and other institutions must ensure that such persons are given priority, not only in basic services but also in terms of securing them on occurrences of earthquakes and other calamities,” the ordinance reads.
“Hence, accommodations to their needs must be accessible and reserve them on the first or lower floor of business establishments in the city,” said vice mayor Duterte in his letter, citing that an ordinance to be drafted, which will cater to the special needs of said persons.
The implementing offices of the said ordinance include Person’s with Disabilities Office for the PWD, Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affair for the Elderly; and the City Social Services Development Office (CSSDO) for the pregnant.
Any complaint will be directed to the Business Bureau, which is tasked to enforce the sanctions. Hotels or resorts failing to comply with the ordinance will face a suspension of its license to operate for the first offense.
A P5,000 fine with revocation of the license will be slapped on the hotel or resort for succeeding offenses.