DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 18 February) — Thirty eight members of the delegation from Mati City in Davao Oriental were rushed to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) Saturday night due to suspected ‘food poisoning’ on the eve of the Davao Region Athletic Association (DAVRAA) meet.
The 38 complained of stomach pain and diarrhea.
Five of them were discharged early Sunday morning.
(On Sunday night, Davao City’s 911 responders attended to at least 50 athletes of Tagum City who complained of stomach ache).
In a statement on Sunday, Mayor Sara Duterte urged the Department of Education (Deped) 11 and city officials of Mati to investigate teachers and persons in charge of the contingent.
Citing an initial report from the City Health Office, the mayor said there was an “obvious cost-cutting on the budget for the meals” when people in charge of the contingent served the leftovers from Friday night for their breakfast Saturday, and the leftovers for breakfast were served for lunch and the same happened for dinner on Saturday.
She added that whoever was in charge may have allowed patients to drink water from sources not cleared for human consumption.
She said responsible individuals “must be dealt with severely” because this was tantamount to corruption.
“This reckless action resulted in the injury of 38 individuals, many of whom were children entrusted by their parents to those who purported to take care of them,” she said.
Jenielito Atillo, spokesperson of the Department of Education (Deped) 11 told reporters in a teleconference that the five discharged patients included three coaches, one kitchen staff, and one student.’FOOD
Thirty-eight members of the Mati delegation, composed of 34 athletes, three coaches, and one kitchen staff, were rushed to the hospital due to “food poisoning.”
There was no assurance if the athletes will be able to compete in DAVRAA, he said.
Atillo said the patients had eaten corned beef and “nilagang baka” (beef stew) prepared by their kitchen staff, composed of Technology livelihood Education (TLE) teachers.
He added delegates might have eaten spoiled leftovers.
Mayor Duterte said limited resources should not be an excuse for reckless behavior that compromised the safety of the contingents. She assured participants of support and assistance from the city as this year’s DAVRAA host.
Atillo said they conducted evaluation and inspection at the Sta. Ana National High School where around 600 Mati delegates were billeted for the five-day DAVRAA to determine what caused the “food poisoning.”
He said the City Health Office (CHO) called for a meeting on Sunday with the persons in charge of the contingents to ensure cleanliness and safety in the preparation of meals.
Atillo said they did not receive reports of “food poisoning” from other contingents.
There are 6,000 delegates comprising athletes, coaches, and guardians, participating in this year’s DAVRAA.
In an interview at the sidelines of the igning of Davao City-Kaua’i sisterhood pact at the Marco Polo Hotel Davao on February 5, Duterte said the city is hosting DAVRAA in preparation for the hosting Palarong Pambansa next year in case the city wins the hosting rights.
But she said then the city will no longer play host to DAVRAA because “labad gyud sa ulo” (It’s a headache).
“We will leave big events to private organizations but I really wanted to do this (DAVRAA) as a practice for Palarong Pambansa as a tourism come-on for Davao City to help our tourism sector,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)