This research shall laying out laws in place regarding the inter-generational issue of underage drinking and how the small time businesses cope with the responsibility to act accordingly as mandated by law with the aim to identify and isolate the factors in play in the implementation of the pertinent laws regarding the topic to better resolve the existing underage drinking issues existing in society.
This research also aims to gather data from external references and analyse such in comparison to the efficacy of the current laws, its impact on small time business owners in Bacolod and the trends and realities in place which must be considered in painting the realistic picture in painting the present situation. The laws to be cited are mostly in the national level, the researches aim to analyse the same and apply and compare the implementation and results of the same laws here in Bacolod City. For much of the discussion, it shall be focused on the issues to be addressed, and factors to be considered.
The objectives of the research are to provide answers to the following questions:
- What are the current laws in place to address the issue of underage drinking;
- How efficiently are these laws being implemented and policed in the small business levels;
- What are the dangers of not addressing the issue of underage drinking properly; and
- How can the current system in place to deter underage drinking be made more efficient.
The focus of this study is on the efficiency of the implementation of the current legal safeguards in place to control underage drinking in small time businesses in Bacolod city. Located at the central part of the Negros Island, Bacolod City is a coastal highly urbanized city in the Western Visayas Region with a land area of 162.67 square kilometres. For the interview, it was primarily localized to the small business in Barangay 7 of Bacolod city.
3.2 Research Design
The researchers conducted two interviews on December 20 to 21, 2019 with the small time sari-sari store owners around the Brgy. 7 area. Semi-structured questions, which were then transcribed for analysis, and were prepared primarily aiming to gather data on the following topics:
- What they think are the current restrictions regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors;
- How often does a minor attempts to purchase alcoholic beverages and what is their standard procedure in the event of such;
- What their suggestion is for the faithful implementation of such laws;
The researchers studied the parallel legislations regarding the topic of other States to contrast analyse where the Philippines is standing in currently in the present global legislative standard.
Descriptive research analysis was used to interpret the data obtained from the interview. Related literature were reviewed and existing laws relevant efficiency of the implementation of the current legal safeguards in place to control underage drinking were evaluated.
4. PERTINENT LAWS AND LEGISLATIONS, AND DEFINITION OF TERMS
4.1 Presidential Decree No. 1619, otherwise known as Decree penalizing the use or possession or the unauthorized sale to minors of volatile substances for the purpose of inducing intoxication or in any manner changing, distorting or disturbing the auditory, visual or mental process. Among the acts punishable under this decree is the sale of, and offer to sell, to minors of liquors or beverages containing an alcoholic content of thirty per centum or above.
4.2 House Bill 3706. It is a bill presented by House Representative Dy, otherwise known as An Act Prohibiting the Access Of Minors To Alcohol And Penalizing Establishments That Furnish Alcohol To Minors, and prescribes sanctions for the minor and the responsible establishment.
4.3 Underage drinking. Which refers to a person who is below 18 years of age, who consumes any alcohol or alcoholic beverages.
4.4 Establishment. Which shall refer to a place used for commercial purposes engaged in the sale and catering of alcoholic beverages
5. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
5.1 DANGERS POSED TO HEALTH, SAFETY AND SOCIETY
Underage drinking is culturally ingrained in the Philippines, which poses a big risk for the youth as alcohol consumption poses numerous health and safety risks for such a vulnerable sector of the population, which studies have shown is also attributable to the targeted marketing and socio-cultural norms between alcohol marketing exposure and increased alcohol use and drunkenness among youth in the Philippines.
Studies have shown a correlation between underage drinking and sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, sexual assault and rape. Over time, too much alcohol damages brain cells which may lead to long term cognitive and behavioral problems. Furthermore, teens who drink tend to do poorly in school and statistically have a more likely probability of having a delinquent behaviour.
Drinking also creates a higher risk for psychological issues, such as depression or anxiety. Drinking during puberty may affect the body and disrupt growth and development, and too much alcohol consumption at one time may lead to serious injury or death from alcohol poisoning.
In the study of Alcohol Consumption and Crime Incidence in the Philippines by Salas and Hinlo, they have established the correlation between occurrence of criminal activity and alcohol consumption. Furthermore, in the same study, it was concluded that the higher the age of the household head the higher the alcohol consumed, for the reason that older people have more time to drink alcohol with their friends. Interestingly enough, the research points to the fact that access to alcohol is not an issue, but rather the employment and financial capacity, added to the social-cultural factors which drives the trend of alcohol consumption up. It our submission therefore, that where the youth have the monetary capacity to purchase alcohol, they are at risk as well of alcoholism and the dangers which go hand in hand with it.
5.2 CURRENT LEGAL PROTECTIONS AND SYSTEMS IN PLACE
In the perusal of existing laws in the Philippines, there seems to be a lack of a law which directly addresses the issue of underage drink in its very essence. Admittedly the sources of the researchers are limited to online resources and interviews and thus there might an oversight over actual laws in place in the local level, however the data received from the primary respondents reveal facts and issues that are independent of the existence of such laws, but more on the implementation of such.
Currently what the legislative body is using to tackle the issue of alcoholism prevalent in society is by way of excise taxes, to discourage the consumers from purchasing alcohol while balancing the economic interests in a very profitable industry. However, we submit that such approach on the issue falls short in the actual addressing of the existing problems in alcoholism by underage youths.
One of the respondents, Mrs. Marivic, a proprietor of a sari-sari store which operates from approximately 8:00 am to 11:00 pm, states that she was not made aware of any strict guidelines on the issue of sale of alcoholic beverages to minors. While she admits that it is common knowledge despite actual notice to business owners like herself that the sale of alcohol to minors is wrong per se, she submits that there is no actual enforcement to achieve the ends of such. She states that minors frequent her store to purchase liquors, and that she does not ask the age nor purpose for buying such commodities. Being a small time business owner, she states, entails the task of grabbing business where it is available. However she admits that she knows of the dangers and risks underage drinking can pose on a minor, but submits that it is beyond her duty a business owner to chastise and lecture young consumers who actively bring in profit.
From the statements of Mrs. Marivic, the issue on the end of the establishments can be gleaned. The absence of an efficient law and its efficient enforcement added to the monetary incentive on the part of the business owners to sell such products to minors contributes to the issue of underage drinking. The financial gain in the sale of alcoholic beverages is a major factor if we are to address the issue of underage drinking in its complete sense. The knowledge of the negative impacts they are causing to their consumers is not sufficient to dissuade them from the profits they generate from selling the same. While the economic aspect plays a major role in tackling this issue head on, this research is primarily focused on the legal aspect of such issue.
The issue of underage drinking is further aggravated by the absence of an active enforcement of the current existing laws which leads to the business owners and consumers into relying on such inefficiency of enforcement and continuously violate such laws despite the risks and knowledge of the wrongness of such acts. While it is easy to pin the blame on the business owners for knowingly selling alcoholic beverages to minors despite the knowledge of the illegality and dangers of such, we submit that we must take into account the nature of business owners to prioritize the furtherance of their business and establishment and rely on the local and national authorities to address societal issues and thus seemingly block out the issues in society to which they are a contributor of.
We submit that there are not enough laws which address the issue head on, and further submit that this issue is a major one. Statistical data has shown that a major portion of crime incidence, such as theft, robbery, rape, homicide and murder incidence in select regions of the country where such data is available, is attributable to alcohol consumption.
6. CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION
We conclude that the State has a major stake in the proper addressing of this issue, and must provide the necessary back bone to fight against such. The safety and welfare of its subjects are very much at stake if this issue is not properly solved. While underage drinking deceptively presents itself as a simple issue, its impacts to society is grave and putting actual measures to put an end to such is an even harder task.
It is our recommendation therefore that to properly address the issue of underage drinking, a collaborative effort between the national and local government, business, youth, law enforcement and health sectors is necessary and essential. An effort to address the issue absent one of the major sectors would fail to fully take account all the necessary steps and factors to be noted of in order to solve the dangers posed by underage drinking.
We also recommend the adoption of existing policies by other existing bodies, such as that of WHO of other States, to counteract alcohol consumption by the youth. An example of such would be the application of policies to restrict targeted alcohol marketing practices. There is also a need for more research regarding the issue of underage drinking in all its fore stated aspects, to ensure a balanced and grounded approach in addressing the issue.
Office of the President (July 23, 1979). Presidential Decree No. 1619, Penalizing the Use Or Possession or the Unauthorized Sale to Minors of Volatile Substances for The Purpose of Inducing Intoxication or in any Manner Changing, Distorting or Disturbing the Auditory, Visual or Mental Process. Retrieved from https://www.chanrobles.com/presidentialdecrees/presidentialdecreeno1619.html#.YKyF6Hniu00
House of Representatives (Aug. 8, 2019). House Bill No. 3706. Retrieved from https://congress.gov.ph/legisdocs /basic_18/HB03706.pdf
Swahn,Palmier, Benegas-Segarra, and Sinson (N.D.). Alcohol marketing and drunkenness among students in the Philippines: findings from the nationally representative Global School-based Student Health Survey. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/PMC3890547/
Diana Rose Q. Salas and Jennifer E. Hinlo (2009). Alcohol Consumption And Crime Incidence In The PhilippineS. retrieved from https://psa.gov.ph/sites/default/files/8.6.3%20Alcohol%20Consumption%20and%20Crime%20Incidence%20in%20the %20Philippines%20.pdf
Congress of the Philippines (Dec. 19 2019). REPUBLIC ACT NO. 10351. An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax On Alcohol and Tobacco Products by Amending Sections 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 8, 131 and 288 Of Republic Act No. 8424. Otherwise Known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as Amended by Republic Act No. 9334, And For Other Purposes. Retrieved from https://lawphil.net/statutes/repacts/ra2012/ra_10351_2012.html#:~:text=%22Effective%20on%20January%201%2C%202017,pesos%20and%20fifty%20centavos%20(P23.&text=50)%20per%20liter.-,”The%20rates%20of%20tax%20imposed%20under%20this%20Section%20shall%20be,by%20the%20Secretary%20of%20Finance.
Linda J. Vorvick (N.D.). Retrieved from Https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000528.htm#:~:text=Health%20Problems%20Related%20to%20Alcohol&text=Drinking%20also%20creates%20a%20higher,or%20death%20from%20alcohol%20poisoning. Risks of underage drinking. :
To our Legal Research professor, Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, thank you for the wisdom and patience you have shared with us, and the opportunity to contribute and broaden our knowledge in the ever expanding study of law. To our friends and family, who never ceases to believe in us, who nudges us forward and catches us when we fall. And to God, without whom nothing would be possible, and with whom everything is.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Mikail Lee Bello graduated from Silliman University of Dumaguete with a Bachelor’s degree on Political Science, and is currently a First Year Law Student
Richthofen Jrich Go Graduated from the University of St. La salle Bacolod with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting Technology, is currently a First Year Law Student
Bobby Rommel Orbista Jr. graduated from the University of St. La Salle Bacolod with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration major in Operations Management and Business Economics, is currently a First Year Law Student.