MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to look into several lambanog poisoning incidents in Luzon over the holidays.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told this to reporters hours after a health official confirmed that 17 people were killed while 400 others were hospitalized after ingesting palm wine in various provinces in Luzon.
Tests from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier showed that samples of the liquor that originated from a Batangas brewery contained about 11 to 18 percent of methanol, a toxic substance that attacks internal organs when ingested.
A fresh batch of lambanog samples from Laguna tested positive for methanol, Health Undersecretary Eric Domingo said in a separate interview.
This means that the toxic lambanog is still being circulated, he said.
The Health department has yet to ban the sale and consumption of lambanog in Luzon since several palm wine brands passed FDA standards, Domingo said.
The public is instead advised to avoid consuming food and drinks from unlabeled containers, he said.
The Laguna provincial government banned the sale of lambanog following deaths linked to the local wine.