LOOK: Senators take a sip of alcopops during alcohol tax hearing

Ralf Rivas
Alcopops have an alcohol content of 7%, yet they're packaged like a juice drink for children. A senator says the packaging needs to change.

DECEIVING. Senator Pia Cayetano wants alcopops repackaged, as it looks a lot like a regular juice drink. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – “Kids can easily like it. It’s sweet.”

This was the comment of Senate ways and means committee chairperson Pia Cayetano when she tasted a sample of an alcopop, a fruit-flavored alcohol drink, during a hearing on increasing the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes.

Cayetano wants alcopops to be pulled out from stores and be repackaged, as it is made to look like a child-friendly drink when it actually has a high alcohol content.

Alcopops have an alcohol content of 7% for a 200-ml pack. To compare, popular beer brand Red Horse has an alcohol content of 7.2%, while San Miguel Pale Pilsen has 5%.

“Kung matanda umiinom niyan, kailangan ba pa-cute ‘yung packaging? Of course not. So that’s why sinasabi ko na if they (companies) cannot even moderate or police themselves, then I’m going to propose something like that,” Cayetano said.

(If the drink is intended for adults, does the packaging need to be cute? Of course not. If they cannot even moderate or police themselves, then I’m going to propose something like that.)

Aside from Cayetano, other senators like Bong Go and Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also took a sip.

TASTE TEST. Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon takes a sip of an alcopop drink. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

Go said he got a little dizzy after consuming the drink.

ALCOHOL EFFECT. Senator Bong Go says he got a little dizzy after drinking an alcopop. Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler

A particular alcopops brand, currently priced at P25 per 200 ml, has a total excise tax of P1.30 per pack. The Department of Finance (DOF) is proposing that the tax be increased to P8 per pack.

The DOF wants to raise sin taxes to ensure there would be funds for the government’s programs under the universal health care law.

The government also hopes that the measure will discourage excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption for better health, especially among the youth and the poor. – Rappler.com