At least 8 dead after drinking lambanog in Laguna, Quezon
LAGUNA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – At least 8 people died while over 100 others were rushed to different hospitals after drinking lambanog in the provinces of Laguna and Quezon on Sunday, December 22.
Police said most of the victims were from Rizal town in Laguna, specifically from barangays Pook and Taytay.
In a report reaching Camp Vicente Lim, Laguna police identified the following fatalities:
- Maricris Dimayuga , 24, of Barangay Paule-2, Rizal
- Cenon Piedra, 60
- Ricky Vitangcol
- Analyn Lanuza, 34, of Barangay Pook Rizal
- Marlon Veridiano
- Elmer Dorado of Nagcarlan
Rushed to several hospitals in the province and in Metro Manila were 122 residents of Rizal town. They showed signs of poisoning, such as stomachache and vomiting. Some also reported blurred vision, a sign of methanol poisoning.
Another victim died on Tuesday morning, December 24, at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH), where 55 patients are still being treated for poisoning. The hospital identified the victim as 37-year-old Jenard Clerigo.
Meanwhile, in Candelaria town in Quezon, a male resident also died Sunday after ingesting lambanog.
Quezon Police Director Superintendent Audrie Madrideo identified the fatality as Ernesto Aguilar, 54, a resident of Barangay Sta Catalina Sur in Candelaria.
Investigations revealed that some of the victims were in a birthday party, where they drank lambanog bought from Rey Lambanog store, owned and operated by Nicanor Buela delos Reyes. Others had lambanog at separate celebrations, but bought it from the same store, according to a report by ABS-CBN News.
Police are now coordinating with the Food and Drug Administration to examine the sample of Rey coconut wine (lambanog). According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, results from FDA’s test will be released Tuesday afternoon, December 24.
The local government of Candelaria has temporarily suspended the business operation of said store while under investigation. Laguna Governor Ramil Hernandez also ordered a temporary ban on the sale and purchase of lambanog in the province following the incident.
In 2018, the FDA issued a warning to lambanog brewers over high methanol content. At least 21 died last year due to methanol poisoning, according to a Philippine Star report.
Only 14 lambanog products are officially registered with the FDA:
Duque said in a press conference on Tuesday, December 24, that local government units have to closely monitor activities of lambanog manufacturing companies.
“In most instances, these are products of backyard industries, which may be difficult for the DOH and FDA to monitor,” he said.
Lambanog is a traditional Filipino alcoholic drink derived from coconut sap. It has a high alcohol content of around 40%. – with a report from Janella Paris/Rappler.com