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A bill banning the consumption of alcohol by those under 21 has been filed.

A bill banning the consumption of alcohol by children and those with physical and mental problems has been introduced in the House of Representatives.

House Bill 1753, also known as the Anti-Underage Drinking Act, was introduced on July 11 by Representatives Paolo Duterte of Davao City and Eric Yap of Benguet. It seeks to establish a nationwide minimum drinking age and to impose penalties on anyone or private organizations found to be in violation of the law.

On Wednesday, a copy of the law was distributed to the media.

Persons under the age of 21 or those who are 21 years old but are unable to adequately care for themselves or protect themselves from abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, or prejudice due to a physical or mental handicap or condition are referred to as “unqualified individuals” in the act.

According to Duterte, alcohol usage is the third biggest risk factor for poor health in the world, contributing to an estimated 2.5 million annual fatalities, a substantial share of which are among the young.

“Young people have a crucial role in establishing a nation, and it is the state’s responsibility to advance and safeguard their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. By preventing unqualified people from obtaining alcohol, the state must take measures to end alcohol misuse and lower underage drinking, he said.

The proposed rule would make it illegal for ineligible people to buy alcohol or alcoholic beverages from vendors or other sources.

If the bill is passed into law, buying or getting alcohol for unqualified people would also be considered a criminal violation.

The proposed rule will also make it illegal for businesses to give or sell alcoholic beverages to people under 21 who are not eligible.

Any unqualified person who violates any of the rules is entitled to the following interventions: for the first offense, the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children (BCPC) will counsel the unqualified person before properly handing him over to the parent(s) or guardian(s); for the second offense, the violator will be required to attend two consecutive regular counseling sessions held by the BCPC with the parent(s) or guardian(s);

Any individual of legal age or establishment that breaches any of the proposed law’s requirements faces a fine of PHP50,000 or a maximum three-month sentence in prison.

The license to run a business associated with the sale of alcohol or alcoholic beverages will be revoked in addition to both penalties for further crimes.

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