COTABATO CITY (MindaNews / 10 May) —At least 55 students of Mirab Elementary School in Upi, Maguindanao del Norte were rushed to a hospital Wednesday morning allegedly due to pesticide exposure, an official said.
Dr. Mohammad Ariff Baguindali, Maguindanao Integrated Provincial Health Office chief, said the elementary students complained of headache, dizziness, stomachache and vomiting, after inhaling the pesticide.
“It’s a case of chemical inhalation. We have 23 admitted and 32 others are under observation,” said Baguindali, who rushed to the Datu Blah Sinsuat Hospital in Upi town to personally supervise the situation
Based on his investigation, he noted that farmers had just sprayed a “Vindex insecticide” on their crops just outside the school perimeter.
The Upi Municipal Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office was immediately informed of the incident, which transported the victims to the hospital.
Baguindali said that all the students were in stable condition after receiving medical attention.
He recommended to the local government unit to advise the farmers to spray their crops on weekends, and not on school days.
“It could be dangerous to the health of the children in the long-term if they are often exposed to chemicals”, he said.
Upi is among the top agricultural producers in the province of rice, corn and vegetables.
Most of the farmers in Upi town have been relying on insecticides to kill the pests for better harvest. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)