MANILA (Mabuhay) — Storeowners found guilty of selling liquor to persons below 18 years of age may find themselves behind bars under a bill criminalizing such an act.
Likewise, under House Bill 258 authored by Rep. Angelina Tan (4th District, Quezon), minors are prohibited from drinking alcoholic beverages and banned from entering beer houses, videoke bars and nightclubs.
The bill, to be known as the “Anti-Underage Drinking Act of 2013,” penalizes violators with three-months imprisonment and a fine of not less than P10,000.
Tan said a jail term and a fine for violators caught selling or drinking alcoholic and intoxicating liquor or beverages to minors will serve as a deterrent to alcoholism and violence.
According to Tan, alcoholism and violence have become key public health issues that require urgent attention.
“It is imperative for the State to initiate proactive policies to curb alcohol consumption by children and teens consistent with Section 13, Article II of the Constitution which states to protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual and social being,” Tan said.
Citing the study of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tan said two out of 10 Filipinos, 15 to 18 years of age; drink alcohol and 6 out of 10 are not content with only two bottles.
WHO Youth Violence and Alcohol Fact Sheet also revealed that 14 percent of 15-24 year olds reported physically hurting someone due to drinking. It was also discovered that many Filipinos are binge drinkers, which result in domestic violence, rape and physical abuse.
Tan also cited the report of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services stating that early drinking can later cause alcohol problems and be a major cause of death and injury among young people.
It also reported that underage alcohol use increases the risk of being a victim of physical and sexual assault; causes brain damage especially when teens drink a lot; increases the chance of teen pregnancy and getting sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and affects a person’s sound decision making.
For offenses committed by minors, the provision of Presidential Decree 603, otherwise known as the Child and Youth Welfare Code, as amended shall be applied.
The measure prohibits the selling or entertaining the idea of purchasing alcoholic or intoxicating liquor or beverages to minors; the sale by a minor, and to cause a minor to purchase alcoholic or intoxicating liquor or beverages.
The bills also penalizes any person for misrepresentation of one’s age by presenting false identification or otherwise represent themselves as being of legal age to purchase alcoholic beverages.
The measure further provides that in addition to the revocation of the license to operate a business connected with the selling of alcoholic or intoxicating liquor or beverage if a corporation, partnership, association or similar entity commits the violation, the president, general manager or most senior officers shall be held liable for the offense.
“The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well being and shall undertake efforts to eliminate alcohol abuse and reduce underage drinking by prohibiting minors’ access to alcohol,” Tan said. (MNS)