■ Ofelia C. Empian
Residents will have to control their rowdiness by 10 p.m. in La Trinidad, Benguet, as the municipal council recently passed the Silent Night Ordinance.
The ordinance aims to regulate the use of any device or musical instruments that produces sound during any event, including fireworks or any pyrotechnics producing excessive sound, which may disturb the peace and sleep of the residents.
“La Trinidad is very much aware of cultural practices, occasions and celebrations by residents of important milestones in their lives where the use of excessive sound or noise is a necessity even at night. Thus, the need for regulation,” the ordinance stated.
The ordinance prohibits excessive sound or noise produced by audio or video devices, musical instruments, machines or instruments and fireworks and pyrotechnics display in residential areas from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Exception to the rule is during celebrations like fiesta, foundation day of the municipality, barangay or sitios, community or neighborhood association parties, and during Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Exception would also be allowed for any person or group who intends to use fireworks or pyrotechnics in any occasion outside of the Christmas season, subject to existing laws and regulations.
Individuals or groups shall apply for a permit from the barangay where the fireworks would be used, specifying the time-frame when the fireworks would be used.
A permit may be issued to people who would be celebrating community gatherings like cultural practices, weddings, anniversaries, or other milestones, education, religious and political rallies. The permit shall specify the conditions for its issuance and the time the event shall end, otherwise the cut-off time shall be midnight.
The barangay may also issue permits to owners, builders or contractors to use machines in their construction sites if the machines, which produce excessive noise or sound, are to be used beyond 10 p.m. The barangays may impose conditions.
The ordinance stated the only event that is exempted from getting a permit is during wakes.
Violators of the ordinance shall be given a verbal warning first to cease from producing excessive noise.
Those who violate the ordinance shall be fined with P2,500 and/or an imprisonment of 10 days to one month or render community service. If a celebration or gatherings create too much noise, it shall be the host that shall be penalized or the owner of the property. If neither is found, all the persons who are in attendance in an event found to have violated the ordinance shall be penalized.
The La Trinidad Municipal Police Station, barangay officials, or the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team of each barangay and duly accredited civil society organizations or peoples’ organizations and deputized by the barangays shall lead the implementation of the ordinance.
Each barangay shall provide a hotline which its residents may also contact.