A coffin keeps curfew and liquor ban violators awake

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DAVAO CITY — For those who does not want to sleep and violates the liquor ban, the  municipality of Sto. Tomas in Davao del Norte has their way of helping them not to sleep, place them inside a gym and stay with an empty coffin equipped with candles and flowers, a punishment which a violator will never forget.

The first batch of curfew violators who were caught under the influence of alcohol were asked to offer their prayers in silence as they watch over the caskets inside the Santo Tomas Recreation and Cultural Center at Feeder Road 3, Santo Tomas, Davao del Norte.

Two empty coffins await liquor ban and curfew violators while on detention plus a case which will be filed in court. “We gave enough warnings but still they continue to violate, so, we decided to let them spend their night inside a gym with an empty coffin, flowers and candles, they cannot move until the next violator comes in,” Lawyer Elaiza Evangelista-Lapiña, the municipal administrator told Newsline.

During the first night of implementation on Sunday, March 29, at least 15 young men were apprehended and they were punished to stay beside a coffin until the next violator comes in, but as the number of violators increase, social distancing is observed and they do it on rotation inside a municipal gymnasium with law enforcement personnel watching them.

The first batch of curfew violators who were caught under the influence of alcohol offer their prayers in silence as they watch over the caskets inside the Santo Tomas Recreation and Cultural Center at Feeder Road 3, Santo Tomas, Davao del Norte.-Photo Courtesy: MIO/Sto. Tomas

The town is on its 8th day of implementing a 24/7 liquor ban and the 9pm to 5am curfew, but according to Lapiña “the young one’s are violating, they would say they cannot sleep as curfew hours hit and they drink, so for them to stay awake, we decided to place them inside the gym because the detention cell at the municipal police station is now congested.”

The coffin, flowers and candles are  provided by a local funeral parlor.

Asked if it is effective, Lapiña quoted a young violator who was chilling and crying “He said, dili na gyud ko mo-otro Mam, hadlok kaayo kay mura gyud og naay patay (He said, we will not do it again Mam, I’m so scared and it was like a dead body was for real inside the coffin).

“Good for them!” says Maristela, a resident of Sto. Tomas saying loitering youngsters are disturbing them. She added “They should learn lessons, the government is doing this for us, for our own good, but some parents are not doing their responsibility.”Residents lauded the move saying it is needed.

The conference room of the municipal police station has been converted as the detention cell for violators who are now awaiting the commitment order from the court as they are facing charges, Lapiña added.

As of Monday afternoon, forty curfew and liquor ban violators have been charged in court.-Editha Z. Caduaya

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