The city may recognize darts as a sport but with some guidelines.
In a proposed ordinance, councilor Levy Lloyd Orcales wants darts separated from amusement activities in the city and if passed will regulate operation of business establishments that have darts.
Under the proposed ordinance, a darts hub shall be classified both as a sporting and a recreational amenity within a business establishment authorized by the city government to operate through the issuance of business permits and licenses and shall be separate from an “amusement center” as defined under Ordinance 15-2000.
The said ordinance define amusement center as an establishment which “allows for a fee to operate or play or play with computer machines, kiddie rides, redemption machines, bump cars, canoe rides, computer internet machines, and the like for one’s amusement, entertainment, relaxation or fun.”
Operation hours for amusement centers, said ordinance mandated, is from from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM everyday.
Orcales argued that the existing ordinance limits the operation of these facilities that host the training and tournaments for darts which, in effect, shortens the preparation time of darts players for competitions.
“There is a need to recalibrate the policies of the city government in relation to the conduct of darts and such other similar sports disciplines and to provide a clear distinction between a sports activity and an amusement or recreational activity,” Orcales asserted.
Under the proposed ordinance, a darts hub within any business establishment shall be allowed to open from the opening hours of the business establishment until 11:59 PM in order to provide ample time for official tournaments organized by the establishment which is recognized by the city government.
The proposed ordinance pointed out that the city government does not and shall not collect amusement tax from business establishments with darts hubs that are used by players free of charge during operating hours. Only the original line of business of the establishment shall be taxable and shall be charged with other fees imposed by the city government.
Once approved, the ordinance shall impose the following rules on darts hubs to be implemented by the owner and/or organizer: No smoking; players shall be properly attired with dark pants, black shoes, and shirts with collars; no minors shall be allowed to use darts amenities except when accompanied by parents for the purposes of competing in a local, regional, or national darts tournament; the owner shall not allow intoxicated players and other customers to enter the establishment nor continue to serve liquor to intoxicated players and other customers; players shall provide their own dart pins which must be placed in a darts case when transporting them for safety purposes.
Establishments found to have violated the ordinance shall be fined ranging from PhP500 to PhP1,500 and shall have their permits to operate cancelled.
The proposed ordinance, once approved, shall also encourage universities in the city to consider darts as a Physical Education (PE) program in any of the PE subjects so as to contribute to the values formation of students.
With the inclusion of darts into the college curriculum, Orcales hopes to erase the negative perception of people to the said sport which has been associated with vibes such as smoking and drinking.
Indoor sports like billiards, bowling, and other sports disciplines, unlike darts, have now been considered as PE programs in universities as it has been popularized by Filipino athletes winning and dominating global tournaments. Darts, on the other hand, is yet to be considered a PE program in universities due to its reputation of being played only with liquor and cigarettes,” said Orcales.
The ordinance shall also mandate all darts clubs, associations, and organizations in the city to register with the City Sports and Recreation Division. Darts clubs shall be recognized by the Local Sports Association (LSA) and shall be granted with the benefits, incentives, and other forms of assistance the city government may provide like any other sports discipline in the conduct and participation to national and international tournaments as provided for by the City Sports Code of 2021 (Ordinance 47-2021).
Funding support to darts events in the city shall be authorized provided that a corresponding project proposal be submitted to the City Sports and Recreation Division, subject to availability of funds and in compliance with the Sports Code.
The darts tournaments in the city shall be Palarong Pambarangay (for barangay officials and appointees only), Panagbenga Darts Tournament, Baguio Day Darts Tournament, and Baguio City Qualifying Darts Tournament.
The ordinance has been approved on first reading and has been referred to the Sanggunian’s Committee on Laws, Human Rights, and Justice for review.
Baguio is home to many rated players in the country including former top player Arbie Briones, who made a living playing as a professional in Singapore including having made a “perfect darts”, the equivalent of a 300 in bowling. It is when a player finishes a game of 501 using nine pins only, hitting a maximum of 180 (all triple 20) twice and closing out with 141, among others.
Briones took home a Harley Davidson bike for his feat.