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2 SOLONS FILE BILL TO DETER UNDERAGE DRINKING

A measure prohibiting minors and persons with mental and physical disabilities from drinking alcoholic beverages has been filed in the House of Representatives.

Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte and Benguet Representative Eric Yap filed House Bill 1753, also known as the Anti-Underage Drinking Act, which seeks to impose a minimum legal drinking age in the country, and also provide for penal sanctions against any person or private entities caught in violation of the legislation to contain the availability of alcohol to unqualified individuals.

The measure refers to “unqualified individuals” as persons under 21 years of age, or those 21 years old but are unable to fully take care of themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or discrimination because of a physical or mental disability or condition.

“It causes an estimated 2.5 million deaths every year, a significant proportion of which occurs in the young.”

Duterte said alcohol use is the third leading risk factor for poor health globally as it causes an estimated 2.5 million deaths every year, a significant proportion of which occurs in the young.

“The state shall undertake efforts to eliminate alcohol abuse and reduce underage drinking by prohibiting unqualified individuals’ access to alcohol.”

“The youth has a vital role in nation-building and it’s the duty of the state to promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. The state shall undertake efforts to eliminate alcohol abuse and reduce underage drinking by prohibiting unqualified individuals’ access to alcohol,” the veteran legislator said.

The measure proposes to prohibit the purchase of alcohol or alcoholic beverages by unqualified individuals from vendors and other sources.

Purchasing or obtaining liquor for unqualified individuals would also become a punishable offense if the bill is enacted into law.

Selling or giving alcoholic beverages to unqualified individuals by an establishment to a person under 21 years of age will also be punishable under the proposed law.

Any unqualified individual who has violated any of the provisions shall be afforded the following interventions: the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) will counsel the unqualified individual before he is properly handed over to the parent/s or guardian/s for the first offense; the violator will be required to attend, together with the parent/s or guardian/s, two consecutive regular sessions of counseling conducted by the BCPC for the second offense; and for subsequent offenses, the unqualified individual shall be handed over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development office for appropriate counseling and proper disposition on the matter.

Any person of legal age or any establishment that violates any of the provisions of the proposed law shall be punished by a fine of P50,000 or imprisonment of not more than three months.

For succeeding offenses, both penalties shall apply in addition to the revocation of the license to operate a business connected with the selling of alcohol or alcoholic beverages.

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