It is illegal to sell liquor during the election period. Foreigners can buy alcohol but as a practical matter, stores put ribbons or ropes over their liquor sections and do not sell to anyone. So if you imbibe at home, buy early.
Here are some interesting details on the election liquor ban from the Margarita Station website:
- This is not the first time there has been an alcohol ban for elections.
- It is a nation wide ban on the sale of alcohol
- Department of Tourism (DOT) certified establishments can apply for a waiver to sell alcohol to foreigners. They can sell only if they have the waiver from DOT
- Establishments that do not have a DOT waiver face a significant fine if caught selling alcohol to foreigners
- Establishments caught selling alcohol to Filipinos may be closed and fined
NOTE: The process to get DOT certified is time consuming and businesses must meet strict standards. The DOT does not certify any "girly bars." This means that the sale of alcohol in the bars will be against the law from 9-13 May. During the last election cycle the police did inspect clubs to make sure they were not serving alcohol. No violations were found. The police will probably stop inspections about 8 pm on the 13th since it is too late to vote, but technically it is still against the law until midnight.
Margarita Station and most hotels like the Lewis Grand, ABC, Orchid Inn Group are DOT certified and are familiar with the waiver process. They will be serving alcohol, but only to foreigners. No alcohol will be served to Filipino guests of foreigners. NOTE 2: many small hotels are not DOT certified, so you may want to check to see if your hotel is DOT certified if you have an alcohol issue.