MANILA- The province of Laguna has temporarily banned the sale of palm liquor, locally known as lambanog, following deaths in one of its towns due to the consumption of the alcohol.
Governor Ramil Hernandez appealed for public understanding over the ban as authorities probe the alcohol poisoning incident in the town of Rizal which resulted in the death of at least 11 people, and the hospitalization of hundreds more.
"Ang inyo pong lingkod ay nag-utos ng temporary ban sa pagbebenta at pagbili ng lambanog sa buong lalawigan kasunod ng pagkamatay ng ilang tao sa bayan ng Rizal matapos malason diumano sa pag-inom ng naturang alak," Hernandez said in a Facebook post late Sunday night.
(I ordered a temporary ban on the sale of lambanog in the whole province after some people died in the town of Rizal due to poisoning because of the drink.)
A sample of the suspected liquor has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for examination, Hernandez added.
On Monday, Fred Rey, owner of "Rey Lambanog," which is blamed for the alcohol poisoning, surrendered to authorities.
Rizal police chief Capt. Lindley Tibuc said Rey promised to help shoulder the victims' expenses.
Malacañang on Monday also expressed alarm over reports of alcohol poisoning and urged the public to be wary of the products they consume.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo reminded Filipinos to drink the labels of the products they ingest.
"Prudence dictates that we should always be mindful of what we ingest, particularly during this is time of merrymaking," he said.
Following the suspected poisoning incident, Rizal Mayor Vener Muñoz said he has placed the town under a state of emergency to gain access to financial assistance.
"Para makakuha ng tulong pinansiyal sa aking bayan. Pansamantala ako nagastos eh sa dami niyan hindi naman ako mayaman," Muñoz said.
(I declared a state of emergency so that my town can receive financial aid. In the meantime, I am paying for all the expenses but I'm not rich.)
The provincial government of Laguna meanwhile assured alcohol-poisoning victims of assistance.
"Nakahanda po tumulong ang inyong lingkod sa lahat ng biktima ng pagkalason," Gov. Hernandez said.
(We are ready to help all the victims of the alcohol poisoning.)