Lambanog leads to death of 8 in Philippines

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At least eight people in the Philippines have died – and 300 more taken to the hospital after drinking a local liquor made from coconut sap.

Reports say the victims came from different towns but had bought the liquor – known as lambanog – from the same shop.

They complained of stomach pains and dizziness before being treated.

Bootleg versions of lambanog, which has an alcohol content of around 40 percent are common.

Police say most of the victims hailed from Rizal town in Laguna province, southeast of the capital Manila while others came from the nearby Quezon province.

There are conflicting reports as to whether or not the distillery operation was legal but reports say the owner of the distillery behind the lambanog has surrendered himself to the authorities.

In a Facebook post over the weekend, the governor of Laguna province said he had put in place a temporary ban on the sale of lambanog – which is in high demand during the Christmas season.

Governor Ramil Hernandez said an investigation into the incident would be opened.

It is, however, pertinent to note that this is not the first time people in the Philippines have died from drinking lambanog.

According to local reports, at least 21 people died last year after drinking it.

More widely, methanol poisoning from bootleg alcohol is a problem across poorer parts of Asia.

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