By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Marlon Agustin, operator of the controversial Monro Disco Bar at Bokawkan Road told the members of the City Council that they continued operating even if their application for business permit is not yet approved.
Monro Disco Bar was ordered closed last month by the city government after eight women including three pregnant and three minors were rescued last February 9. The disco bar was alleged of sex trafficking.
In a public hearing called by the City Council in aid of legislation against sex trafficking, Agustin admitted before the members of the city council that they resumed their operations since the second week of March. He said that their application for business permit is still on the process in the City Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO).
Councilor Pinky Rondez asked BPLO head Cristio Lagyop why Monro Disco Bar is being allowed by their office to apply for business permit even after it was established that the bar tolerates sex trafficking. Rondez reminded Lagyop that according to the provisions of Republic Act 9208 under the Local Government Code, that any establishments which are found violating the law and conditions of being permitted to operate businesses will be subject for the revocation and rejection of their business permits.
Lagyop explained that the owner of the Disco Bar, a certain Juliet Sal-ingan and his Korean co-owner, Richard Soo applied a new business permit indicating that it is no longer a disco bar but an ordinary videoke bar. He also said that the owners submitted all the requirements and paid the necessary fees.
Rondez told Lagyop that even if they (owners of Monro) paid the necessary fees, it does not mean that they are free to be given permits. She said that it is clear that they have violations. She added that the efforts or the city government against bars and other night establishments found employing sex trafficking and women and child exploitation will be in vain.
Councilor Edison R. Bilog who presided the public hearing advised Agustin to cease from operating while their business permit is still pending and while complaints on sex trafficking against them is being heard. He said that they have to abide by the laws and ordinances of the city. Agustin agreed.
Nordis tried to interview Agustin after the hearing to get their reaction on the directives to cease from operations but he refused. He only said that it will already be up to their lawyers. # nordis.net