MAKATI Mayor Abby Binay yesterday warned owners and operators of Internet cafes and computer shops to strictly follow city ordinances or face immediate closure.
The warning followed the closure of several Internet cafes and computer shops since August and the filing of cases against their operators for a host of violations. These include allowing minors and students inside their establishments during school hours and operating without a valid Mayor’s Permit.
“I call on parents and officials of our schools and barangays to be vigilant. We need to ensure that Internet-related facilities in their neighborhoods are strictly observing the ban on elementary and high school students inside their premises during school hours,” Binay said.
The mayor urged residents to report violators to her office through the official Facebook account, MyMakati.
She cited the case of Republic of Gamers Computer Shop in Bgy. Pio del Pilar that was closed down by the Business Permits Office (BPO) in August.
Despite a closure order issued in February, the establishment continued to operate in defiance of the order. The previous administration also failed to enforce the order.
Charges have also been filed by the city against the directors of Busko99 Corporation, its owner, for violating provisions of the Revised Makati Revenue Code, City Ordinance 2002-122, and the Makati City Child and Youth Welfare Code or City Ordinance 2004-A-025.
Since July, the city government through BPO has closed down 58 errant establishments. These include Ryukatel Internet Cafe in Bgy. Poblacion, JPCS Ticketing Center & Jenel Photo Video and Computer Services in Bgy. Bankal, Lakbayan Hotel and Lakbayan Dormitory in Bgy. Pinagkaisahan, among others.
City Ordinance No. 2002-122 prohibits grade school and high school students from entering leisure and gaming establishments during school hours. These include billiard halls, computer shops, movie houses and malls.
In the city’s Child and Youth Welfare Code, a provision that prohibits the operation of network gaming shops and other similar establishments within a 100-meter radius of any education or religious institution has given more teeth to the 2002 ordinance.
The said code also imposes stiffer penalties, raising the fine from P1,000 to P2,000 or four months in jail, upon discretion of the court, for the first offense. For the second offense, a P3,000-fine is meted with a six-month imprisonment. On the third offense, a P5,000-fine, closure and confiscation of gaming and other equipment, as well as imprisonment of not more than 12 months, will be imposed on violators.
Meanwhile, the imposition of Mayor’s Permit and other regulatory fees are provided for by the City of Makati to regulate any business activity or undertaking conducted within the city. This power to regulate emanates from the police power of the city.
Under Section 7D of the Revised Makati Revenue Code, violations of provisions not covered by the specific penalty are punishable with a fine of not less than P1,000 or imprisonment of not less than one month but not more than six months, or both, at the discretion of the court.