Residents of Barangay Poblacion in Makati are up in arms against bar and club owners who have recently invaded the once-upon-a-time quiet (and almost forgotten) neighborhood of the country’s wealthiest city.
Due to the marketing success of Rockwell and the busy nightlife on Burgos Street, out-a-towners (meaning, petty opportunists) noticed the potential of Poblacion—both as residential and business hubs.
Real estate prices started going up—now comparable to those of nearby Bel-Air Village.
However, what the residents did not foresee was the mushrooming of bars and nightspots that have brought noise pollution, filth and sometimes violence to their once sleepy neighborhood.
The drinking and partying in the area are attributed to the liberal issuances of business permits to a handful of local and foreign businessmen. Most of them don’t reside or own property in Poblacion either—thus, perhaps the I-don’t-give-a-damn-attitude they show residents when the latter start to complain.
Some of these so-called investors operate on a lease and sublease system: They lease property, rebuild them into multilevel edifices, and sub-lease the slots.
The most controversial bar operator is a local who managed to transform a former brothel into a popular hostel with an extremely noisy rooftop bar.
There’s also a noisier rooftop bar run by two Central Americans.
Both places have live bands and DJs playing loud music until the wee hours.
According to a sound engineer, both bars have noise levels that reach 80 decibels (dB), at a distance of approximately 100 feet, as measured by a professional decibel meter. A noise level of 85 dB or stronger can cause permanent damage to one’s hearing.
The noise also comes from the screaming revelry of drunk clients.
When residents complain to barangay officials about the deafening noise, both bar owners claim they have “special” city hall permits, and that they should deal with city hall—not them (as barangay officials told the residents).
Not only Poblacion residents are affected. So are the airbnbs, who have seen guests leave their rooms at 2 a.m., infuriated by the noise. To add fuel to the fire, most clients demand their money back immediately.
Residents have repeatedly asked Makati City Hall and barangay officials for help, but no one seems able to do anything. Barangay officials resort to turning off their phones due to the nonstop complaints of Poblacion residents.
Only direct intervention on the part of Mayor Abigail Binay seems to be the sole solution. —CONTRIBUTED