Senator Guido Girardi, member of the Senate Health Committee and author of the Alcohols Law, along with Sebastián González, spokesman for the National Association of Botillerías (ANAGBOT) denounced the illegal sale of alcohol through social networks.
They pointed to the clandestine activity, known as “Fono Copete”, where the main acquirers would be minors. And they accused of indolence and carelessness on the part of the supervisory authorities and announced that they will make a presentation to the Comptroller General of the Republic to ensure compliance with the Alcohols Law recently in force.
Senator Girardi said “with great difficulty as a result of the gigantic lobby we came to approve this law after more than 15 years. Chile has one of the highest prevalences in the world in alcohol consumption, 55 grams of pure alcohol on average and is much more serious in the group of 18 to 29 years where it reaches 80 grams. ”
He pointed out that “the general prevalence in Chile is close to 48% of the population and 44% of them have excessive consumption on the weekend, but the biggest problem is the very high prevalence of consumption of minors: about 20% of eighth grade students and more than 40% at age 17. On weekends, two out of three schoolchildren drink excessively on the weekend.”
And he said that “the main causes of death before the age of 30 are due to alcohol consumption either by traffic accidents or quarrels and violence. This law places the emphasis on preventing the sale, consumption and addition of alcohol to minors. The earlier you start drinking, the greater the likelihood of having pathological consumption as an adult. In Chile, the age of onset is 13 years.”
Girardi’s complaint is that “here is an industry – the so-called Fono Copete – that sells alcohol to minors through social networks that are absolutely illegal distribution channels, clandestine, do not have a patent, commit tax evasion and do not require identity cards.”
In that sense, he warned that “the inspections of the Carabineros are feble. We are going to deliver a set of complaints that we have compiled and we will make a presentation to the Comptroller’s Office, because the laws must be complied with and the institutions must supervise that this happens and it is not being done with due zeal and responsibility.”
The Senator reiterated that it is unacceptable that these platforms, through Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, lend themselves to clandestine sale of alcohol and, moreover, to minors. “They must be held accountable and we are going to establish sanctions in the law to regulate the platforms that we are developing in Congress.”
“We are going to ask both the Carabineros and the Investigations to supervise. And those who are repeat offenders must have prison sentences and we will demand that all the necessary actions be exercised to prevent the public good such as the health of the population, especially that of minors, from being threatened,” he said.
For his part, Sebastián González, spokesman for ANAGBOT, warned that since the pandemic and the curfew, “the clandestine sale of all kinds of products quickly became massive, each building became a mall to meet the diverse needs of the people, with the return to normality has decreased in general, but the Copete Phone is still very high.”
He added that “whoever delivers the alcohol does not care about who receives it, therefore, minors are having access to alcohol absolutely freely.”
And he criticized that “anyone goes to the supermarket with 100 thousand pesos, buys alcohol, sells it clandestinely, without paying taxes or anything and in a short time multiplies the capital. Fines are very low because they store little in one place and keep in others. They are organized, communicated and have a heritage to acquire more merchandise.”
“The almost zero control capacity on the part of the Carabinero and Internal Taxes, which have not been supervised since the pandemic, that and the low penalties have been a breeding ground for the proliferation of clandestine people in all kinds of areas,” he concluded.