GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 October) – Two young siblings died while four other members of their family were hospitalized on Monday due to a suspected case of food poisoning in a remote village of T’boli town in South Cotabato.
Norberto Lapastora, administrative officer of the T’boli municipal government, said Tuesday six members of the Fundo family in Sitio Libing in Barangay Lambuling fell ill Monday after reportedly eating rice porridge.
He said the family members initially complained of severe stomach and head pains as well as other symptoms of food poisoning that later worsened.
Two Fundo children identified as Marjun, 7, and Maila, 2, died after suffering from complications supposedly triggered by such symptoms, he said.
The two siblings reportedly died on the way to the T’boli rural health unit, which is about three hours from Sitio Libing.
Lapastora said four other family members identified as Jomari, Mary Ann, Saida and Lorie were immediately brought to the South Cotabato Provincial Hospital in Koronadal City for treatment.
A relative of the Fundos claimed the victims only consumed rice porridge before they were downed by suspected food poisoning symptoms.
Lapastora said they received reports that the rice used for the porridge consumed by the victims was allegedly from the National Food Authority (NFA) stocks distributed by the T’boli municipal government under its supplemental feeding program.
“We’ll be bringing samples of the NFA rice to Davao City for laboratory tests,” he said.
Meantime, Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO)-South Cotabato chief Dr. Rogelio Aturdido said three of the four Fundo family members who were rushed to the provincial hospital in Koronadal City were already in stable condition as of Tuesday morning.
He said he sent blood samples taken from the victims to the regional laboratory to check the possible cause of their illness.
“We can’t say yet what really caused their illness pending the release of the laboratory tests,” the health official said.
Aturdido added that he dispatched personnel from the IPHO to the area to check on the possible causes of the reported food poisoning. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)