Philippines: Government Plans to Ban Alcohol Online Sales

The government of the Philippines plans to ban alcohol online sales, as minors have started to access this harmful substance through online purchase and on-demand delivery.

Since the COVID-19 related movement restrictions were put in place online sale and delivery of alcohol has grown rapidly. Unfortunately minors are also able to access harmful products through these methods as there is no certainty in age verification – a problem reported also from other jurisdictions. Therefore, the Department of Finance (DOF) has now proposed to ban online sale of alcohol and tobacco to ensure that these products are not accessible to minors, according to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III.

California, USA: On-Demand Alcohol Delivery Apps Harm Youth

Presidential Decree No. 1619, issued in 1979, prohibits the sale to minors of “volatile substances that induce intoxication.’’

Children and youth have been cooped up inside homes since March 16, 2020 when Philippines implemented movement restrictions. Even under the general community quarantine (GCQ) implemented in Metro Manila from June 1st those below 21 are still barred from going out.

The country lifted their COVID-19 ban on alcohol sale a few weeks ago. Online platforms have been selling alcohol since the lifting of the ban and delivering it to people’s homes. It is not possible to verify ages of buyers through these platforms. For example the e-commerce platform Lazada sells alcohol to anyone who confirms that they are “18 years or older” at the click of a button. Minors can easily claim to be older and order alcohol online and have it delivered to their doorstep.

The Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has backed the ban on online sale of alcohol by unregistered sellers. According to a statement by Secretary Lopez the Trade and Finance departments are currently working together to set up a system to ensure legitimacy of online sellers who can also ensure compliance with the country’s alcohol laws to protect minors. However, Secretary Lopez is not completely ruling out online sale of these products as long as they were sold through registered platforms which have buyer profiling.

Recently, another country in the region, the government of Thailand also announced their plans to ban online sale of alcohol for the same reason of protecting children and youth from access to harmful products.

Thailand Plans to Ban Alcohol Online Sales

Sources: “DOF to ban online sale of ‘sin’ products

ABS CBN News: “Trade chief backs ban of unregistered cigarette, alcohol online sellers