Dangers of online sale of illicit alcohol flagged
MANILA -An association of alcoholic beverage makers has warned of the dangers of consuming illicit alcoholic beverages bought online, citing the health risks associated with unregulated products which continue to circulate in online marketplaces.
Alcoholic Beverages Alliance of the Philippines, Inc. (Abapi) corporate secretary Shanahan Chua told reporters last week that alcoholic beverages sold online illicitly— whether counterfeit or smuggled products—pose great danger to consumers.
“We have to account for the product’s quality. If it’s just a mix done at home, you don’t know the alcohol content, the methanol levels,” Chua said on the sidelines of a signing ceremony for a sector-wide pledge vowing to fight against the illicit online sales of alcoholic beverages.
“People who drink these counterfeit products, there’s a harmful effect on the body,” he added, drawing a parallel to what happened to public health during the prohibition period in the United States—a time characterized by the proliferation of “moonshine” or high proof liquor produced illegally.
During the same event, Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines Director General Rowel Barba said the Philippines had the second biggest tax loss in the region back in 2019, citing the 2022 report by the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade.
This, he said, amounted to $438 million, highlighting the magnitude of the unrecorded sales of alcoholic beverages in the Southeast Asian country.
The Abapi official said that this tax loss accounts for a 30 percent share of the total.
Barba estimates the number to have retreated last year, owing to the reopening of the economy and people returning to buying in physical stores, but remains a problem today. INQ