Close to 300 pupils, students in Surigao Sur town downed by food poisoning

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/10 July) – At least 286 students and pupils from the town of Cagwait in Surigao del Sur were rushed to various hospitals after allegedly eating durian and mangosteen candies, sources said.

“This morning at around 9:30, I saw several people rushing towards our municipal health center which is just beside our mayor’s office. I checked it out and found out that several students were given first aid treatment after complaining of abdominal pain and other vomited,” Guardiano Lozada, council member of Cagwait town said in a phone interview.

“We immediately rushed several of them to the hospital in Tandag City,” said Lozada who was the acting mayor as the mayor was in Butuan City for an official business.

“As the number of those who complained increased, several were rushed to nearby district hospitals in the towns of Marihatag and Lianga but majority were taken to Adela Serra Ty Memorial Medical Center in Tandag City,” he said.

“At around 1:30 p.m. we immediately held a meeting with our crisis committee to further evaluate the situation,” the official added.

Information from the town’s crisis committee estimated that over 200 elementary, secondary and college students from Aras-asan Elementary School, Cagwait Central Elemtary School and Surigao State University Cagwait Campus were affected.

Senior Supt. Narciso Cerdadeno, provincial police director, said at least 286 patients had been admitted in the hospitals as of 3:30 in the afternoon.

“As of this time we have 286 people in the hospital here in Tandag City, we are still trying to verify other reports all over Surigao del Sur. I have also issued an order to our personnel throughout Surigao del Sur to check all reports and a warning to residents not to immediately trust those selling this kinds of product,” said Cerdadeno.

He said they have arrested eight vendors who were said to have sold the candies bearing the brand name Wendy’ and suspected to be the cause of the food poisoning.

“We now have in our custody eight ambulant vendors which we had arrested who claimed they are from Davao City and travelled all over Caraga region. We confiscated durian and mangosteen candies all carrying the Wendy’s brand. We also have in our custody the vehicle they used, a white L300 van-type vehicle with plate number MEM366,” the police official said.

He said they are still looking for four more individuals who were with the vendors. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)