Noisy neighbors may soon be a thing of the past in the Philippines.
The committee on public order and safety of the House of Representatives has approved the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to deliberate on a proposal prohibiting the use of videoke and karaoke systems in residential areas.
The TWG shall discuss House Bill 1035, authored by Rep. Angelina Tan, M.D.
The proposed law seeks to tackle noise pollution and unnecessary disturbances to the public produced by sound amplifying equipment in residential areas.
Noise or sound pollution refers to any exposure of people or even animals to sound levels that are annoying, stressful or damaging to the ears. Tan noted that in recent years, much of the world has become urban, industrial, and chronically noisy.
“Noise causes difficulty in conversations. It interferes with sleep and negatively impacts certain kinds of work. As a source of stress, it can promote high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems as well as nervous disorders,” Tan said.
She acknowledged that major sources of noise among residential areas in the country are videoke and karaoke systems. Tan said that many local residents or groups are accustomed to occupying public streets or roadsides to gain a wider space for private activities or functions, often making use of videoke and karaoke systems and amplified audio devices.
“The making or creation of excessive, unnecessary or unusually loud sounds from videoke/karaoke systems or other amplified audio devices beyond limits and at unacceptable levels during unholy hours causes serious discomfort and has created numerous complaints and public condemnation as they are detrimental to public health, comfort, convenience, safety, welfare, and prosperity of the general public,” Tan said.
She further asserted that despite existing anti-noise pollution laws, current legislation does not squarely address President Rodrigo Duterte’s policy pronouncement of enforcing a 10 p.m. ban on videoke/karaoke singing as part of imposing strict discipline to make the entire country safe and orderly.
The bill provides that the playing or operating or permitting either action of any radio, CD player, television set, amplified musical instrument, loudspeaker videoke or karaoke system, or other sound amplifying equipment shall only be allowed from eight o’clock in the morning until ten o’ clock in the evening throughout the week.
Operation of such machine or device as to be plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from the place in which it is located shall be prima facie evidence of a violation.
Any individual or business entity found in violation shall be punished by a fine of P1,000 or an imprisonment of not more than six months or both.
Succeeding offenses shall be met with both penalties in addition to the revocation of the license to operate a business. If the violation is committed by a corporation, partnership, association or similar entity, the most senior officers shall be held liable for the offense.
Tan’s concerns were supported by guest resource persons, particularly by Friends of the Environment (Fenor) volunteer Ruby Palma. For her part, concerned citizen Katherine Victa discussed with the panel her advocacy to minimize noise pollution.