Benguet Rep. Eric Yap and Davao City Rep. Paolo Duterte filed in the House of Representatives House Bill 1753, also known as the Anti-Underage Drinking Act, seeking to increase the age ban from drinking alcoholic beverages from 18 years old to 21.
The bill provides a measure prohibiting the availability of alcohol to “unqualified individuals” and imposes penal sanctions against any person or private entity who violates it.
The bill refers to unqualified individuals as those aged below 21 or those who are 21 but “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.”
Under the proposal, the unqualified individual who is a first-time offender shall be sent to the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) for counseling before being handed over to their parents or legal guardians.
For their second offense, the unqualified individual shall be required to attend two consecutive regular counseling sessions with the BCPC with their parents or guardians.
On their third and subsequent offense, unqualified individuals shall be handed over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for “appropriate counseling and proper disposition on the matter.”
The bill will also impose punishments on any person of legal age or establishment caught selling or giving alcoholic beverages to unqualified people. Violators will face a fine of PHP 50,000, imprisonment of not more than three months, and revocation of their business license.
On the reason for the filing of the bill, Duterte and Yap highlighted the important role of the youth in nation-building. “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,” they explained.
While the current legal drinking age in the Philippines is 18, a study by Dr. Diana A. Payawal of the Philippine Society of Gastroenterology found that Filipinos start drinking at a very young age. Her survey revealed that 22.6 % of females and 36.6% of males aged 16-17 currently drink alcohol.
Source: https://www.pulongduterte.com/_files/ugd/da63b0_6f4202dc04da4289a11491b07b376814.pdf, https://www.facebook.com/diabetes.ph/videos/449882419749862/