Retailers, e-commerce apps secure booze sale
Philippines has incurred $438 million in losses due to illicit alcohol trade, while 44 percent of the total alcohol consumption in the Asean region were unrecorded since these have escaped regulations and taxes.
photograph courtesy of RAFFY AYENG for the daily tribune Department of Trade and Industry Competitiveness and Innovation Group chief, Undersecretary Mary Jean Pacheco (fifth from left) and Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines director-general Rowel Barba, joined stakeholders in the alcoholic beverage industry in a pledge that would control the sale of alcohol to minors which is purportedly rampant online.
The online sale of liquor and cigarettes is a ticklish topic primarily since there is no guarantee that the youth can’t access these health hazards through the use of online marketplaces.
Alcoholic beverage sellers have decided to take action by undertaking a pledge with the online platform operators, in the presence of government regulators on Thursday in Makati City.
The pact was sealed among the Asia Pacific International Spirits & Wines Alliance or APISWA, the Alcoholic Beverages Alliance of the Philippines Inc. or ABAPI, and the online shopping platform Lazada, with the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines director general Roel Barba, and Department of Trade and Industry Competitiveness and Innovation Group chief Mary Jean Pacheco as witnesses.
In his presentation, Barba disclosed that based on the report of the Transnational Alliance to Combat Illicit Trade or TACIT, the Philippines has incurred $438 million in losses due to illicit alcohol trade, while 44 percent of the total alcohol consumption in the Asean region were unrecorded since these have escaped regulations and taxes.
“Reasons for unrecorded alcohol are smuggling, tax leakage, counterfeiting and illegal artisanal,” Hermance de la Bastide, director of APISWA, said.
Based on a report by online research outfit Statista, five percent of Filipinos under the age of 16 to 24 are buyers of alcoholic drinks on social media as of the first quarter of 2023.
The Philippines, on the other hand, ranked 8th among 12 countries in Asia with the highest purchase of alcohol using social media in the first quarter of 2023, while in 2022, the household final consumption expenditure of alcoholic beverages and tobacco in the country was valued at approximately P211.8 billion, growing 0.7 percent compared to the previous year.
The pledge primarily aims to develop and enhance safeguards to prevent the online sale and delivery of alcohol to minors, making the two groups collaborate in reinforcing regulations that prevent those below the legal purchase and drinking age from accessing alcohol products, and support the legitimate sales of alcohol in the online environment in the country.
Under the pledge, ABAPI and APISWA members also vowed to ensure compliance with licensing, taxation, and other relevant organizations on the distribution and sales of alcohol by their respective companies and encourage online retailers to reinforce and or put in place safeguards to protect minors.
Significantly, the pact seeks to promote the fight against illicit trade by providing a direct channel for e-commerce platforms to raise any suspicion about counterfeit alcohol and to request specific training to online platforms on how to identify counterfeit products.
Meanwhile, the virtual marketplaces that signed the pledge said they will encourage the display of responsible drinking messages on all accounts or pages which list alcoholic beverages for sale and adopt age-screening technologies to reduce the potential for minors to have access to alcoholic products or partner platforms.
“Online platforms are encouraged to put in place safeguards upon delivery of purchased alcoholic beverages to protect minors, including identification checks upon delivery and the screening of addresses,” the pledge read.
Moreover, online selling to support the legitimate sale of alcoholic beverages online was stated.
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