BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Liquor, especially gin, is a secret treasure in the mining town of Itogon lately.
A liquor ban has been imposed in the town since the Luzon lockdown in mid-March up to this day, Saturday, June 13 – nearly two weeks after Itogon and the rest of Benguet had eased into modified general community quarantine (MGCQ) beginning June 1.
As a result of the months-long liquor ban, a 700 ml bottle of this Dutch-type gin, more popularly known here as 4 by 4, has been selling by as much as P300 each.
Gin smuggling has become rampant here. According to Itogon Mayor Victorio Palangdan, the police confiscated 40 cartons of the 350 ml gin or “two by two” throughout the coronavirus quarantine. That amounted to almost 1,000 bottles.
Some of the smugglers had placed inside sacks of rice or disguised as relief goods.
Itogon this week has also been ravaged by COVID-19. It now has the most number of cases with 4, the same number as that of Benguet’s capital town of La Trinidad.
The two first cases were jail wardens from the National Bilibid Prison, who initially tested negative, when they decided to come to their hometowns. The result of their real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) when they finally arrived last week showed that they were negative.
The town’s latest cases were a 54-year-old barangay tanod from Barangay Dalupirip and a 37-year-old woman.
Palangdan hit on an idea.
“Turned over by PNP Itogon the confiscated 40 cartons/960 bottles fo 2X2 gin from several liquor ban violators during the community quarantine. To make good use of it, local officials initiated the disinfection of the municipal grounds using the confiscated bottles of gin,” he said in his Facebook page on Saturday.
That meant spraying the roads with gin.
One resident commented in Ilocano: “Stay safe, friends. When the roads are drunk they will zigzag so be safe in driving.” – Rappler.com
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