By Genalyn Kabiling
Malacañang has left to the local government units to decide on the proposed lifting of the ban on the sale of liquor drinks during the enhanced community quarantine period.
A group of alcohol beverage companies earlier sent a letter to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to plead for the lifting of the liquor restriction due to the adverse impact on their businesses and workers.
“Ang liquor ban naman na-iimpose ng ibat-ibang LGUs. Alam ko ang Quezon City may liquor ban pero may ilang bayan sa Metro Manila na wala naman liquor ban (The liquor ban was imposed by different local government units. I know Quezon City imposed a liquor ban but other cities in Metro Manila did not implement the ban),” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said during a Palace press briefing Monday.
“Hinahayaan na natin desisyunan ‘yan ng ating mga local na mayor (We will just let the local mayors decide on the matter,” he said when asked if the government will consider the appeal of liquor companies to allow the sale of alcoholic drinks during the quarantine period.
The Center for Alcohol Research and Development (CARD) Foundation Inc. earlier asked the trade department to let the industry thrive by allowing the sale of their products “with the same freedom of trade given to other goods.”
The group expressed concern that the industry could no longer survive if the liquor ban continues. It said the government may totally lift the ban or relax the hours when stores can sell the liquor products.
Among the areas that temporarily banned the sale of alcoholic drinks are Manila, Quezon City, Mandaluyong City, Caloocan City, San Juan City, and Pasay City during enhanced community quarantine enforced to curb the coronavirus outbreak.
The World Health Organization recently warned that alcohol consumption should be minimized since it can increase health vulnerability, risk-taking behaviors, mental-helath issues and violence amid the lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.
“WHO/Europe reminds people that drinking alcohol does not protect them from COVID-19, and encourages governments to enforce measures which limit alcohol consumption,” the organization said on its website.