Booze IS the answer! San Miguel to use gin plant to produce disinfectant alcohol for hospitals

With panic-buying and hoarding running amok amid coronavirus fears and the lockdown of Luzon, supplies like disinfectants have become increasingly scarce, with even hospitals in Metro Manila forced to ask the public to donate supplies to meet demand.

Ordinarily in situations like these, drowning the problem in scads of booze is a tempting, albeit unproductive course of action. This time, though, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

The San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has announced that it’s planning to chip in to address shortages by producing disinfectant alcohol at its Ginebra gin factory, and donating it to communities and public hospitals.

SMC President Ramon Ang told ABS-CBN News that they are currently seeking government approval to allow them to produce 70 percent ethyl alcohol, which hospitals can use as sanitizers.

The beer-and-booze behemoth’s factories actually already started producing the alcohol over the weekend, but just for use by employees and in their own facilities.  If the government gives the green light, SMC will be able to donate the much-needed sanitizer in 20-liter containers and 1,000-liter tanks.

Ang, an ally of President Rodrigo Duterte, added that they also plan to begin donating a brand of disinfectant powder the company also produces, reports The Philippine Daily Inquirer.

“While hand-washing is still the best defense, hand sanitizers with 70 percent alcohol can be your next best option where soap and water are not available,” Ang said.

“We have the means and capability to produce this, and make it available for free to LGUs [local government units] and public hospitals. We are working on getting the necessary clearances from the relevant government agencies, to produce this for public use. We ask that they help expedite clearances,” he added.

SMC may have been inspired by French luxury goods giant LVMH, which owns dozens of brands like Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, and Givenchy. The company announced yesterday that it will use its perfume and cosmetics factories to produce large quantities of hand sanitizers to be donated to the French government. France, like the Philippines, is facing a shortage of disinfectants due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Meanwhile, Ang assured the public that SMC, which also produces various food products, has adequate supplies and can meet the needs of Luzon during the one-month quarantine.

“As far as food supply is concerned, we have the capability to produce enough for everybody and deliver to supermarkets,” he said.

Duterte last night announced that he was putting Luzon in an “enhanced” quarantine to stop the spread of COVID-19. Everyone has been told to remain indoors except to procure essentials, and violators may be arrested.


This article, Booze IS the answer! San Miguel to use gin plant to produce disinfectant alcohol for hospitals, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!