House begins discussion on bill imposing ‘curfew’ on karaoke singing

The House of Representatives is now deliberating on the bill vs late-night karaoke, loud sound systems

Lawmakers are working on a bill to stamp out the anti-social use of videoke machines late at night. If this bill seeking to address the problem of noise pollution in residential areas becomes a law, Filipinos may bid goodbye to late-night karaoke singing.

The House of Representatives Committee on Public Order and Safety chaired by Antipolo City (2nd district) Representative Romeo Acop has officially begun its discussions on House Bill No. 1035 or “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 measure, proposed by Quezon (4th district) Rep. Angelina Tan, seeks to limit the use of sing-along and other sound amplifying devices to between 8am and 10pm, aims to prevent unnecessary disturbance in residential areas, and also avert any negative social or health effects. Tan stressed the need for national legislation on the issue, saying it had “not only caused quarrels and divisions among our neighborhoods, but also death to some individuals.” She added that the noise produced by such equipment interferes with sleep, negatively impacts certain kinds of work and can promote high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems as well as nervous disorders.

Other devices named in the bill include radios, CD players, television sets, amplified musical instruments and loudspeakers. The operation of such equipment audible from more than 50 feet away would be considered a violation.

Any person or business premises violating the rules would face a fine of 1,000 PHP 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 licenses. 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 last Tuesday, Ruby Palma, a stakeholder from Friends of the Environment in Negros Oriental (Fenor) suggested five points to be added to Tan’s 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 and
  • monitoring, reporting, and evaluation of the law’s implementation

However, Acop, pointed out that existing presidential decrees already addressed noise pollution. Yet Tan argued that these laws did not “squarely address President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy pronouncement of enforcing a 10pm ban on videoke/karaoke singing”.

The said filed bill was actually similar to the current ordinance implemented in Davao City, where President Rodrigo Duterte became a mayor for about 20 years.

There is no similar bill currently filed in the Senate.