By Jeffrey Damicog
The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) will also be conducting an investigation on the “lambanog (distilled palm liquor)” poisoning which has already claimed the lives of around 13 persons and downed around 300 individuals.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Friday, December 27, confirmed that President Rodrigo Duterte, himself, gave the directive to the NBI.
“The President ordered the NBI to investigate the alleged lambanog poisoning incidents and to submit a report thereon immediately,” Guevarra told reporters.
Earlier, Malacanang expressed concern over the number of persons who were poisoned by the locally made coconut wine.
Because of this, the Palace warned the public to take precaution when drinking the popular liquor.
“The Palace expresses alarm over the reported cases of lambanog poisoning in Laguna and Quezon,”Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said last Monday.
“We remind the public that they should always check whether their alcohol purchases, or any product that they consume for that matter, have been registered or approved by the Food and Drug Administration,” he added.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said the samples of lambanog collected from Rizal, Laguna were found to have toxic levels of methanol.
“Very low levels of methanol may be present in alcoholic beverages provided they are byproducts of natural fermentation. The high levels found in the samples makes them toxic,” said FDA Officer-in-Charge and Health Undersecretary Rolando Enrique Domingo previously.
“Methanol, also known as wood alcohol, is a flammable and poisonous liquid. Ingestion of 30ml is potentially fatal. Absorption through the skin or via inhalation may also lead to toxic effects. This is due to methanol being converted to formaldehyde and formic acid in the liver,” he added.