Store owners found guilty of selling liquor to persons below 18 years of age may find themselves behind bars if the bill filed by Rep. Angelina Tan of Quezon province becomes a law.
House Bill No. 258 seeks to prohibit minors from drinking alcoholic beverages and to ban them from entering beer houses, videoke bars, nightclubs and the likes.
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 in her explanatory note.
Citing the study of the World Health Organization, Tan said two out of 10 Filipinos, 15 to 18 years of age drink alcohol and six out of 10 are not content with only two bottles.
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.
“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 stressed. PNA