By JONATHAN M. HICAP
A total of 150 people were rushed to hospitals after eating foods served during a feeding program in Poblacion, Muntinlupa City, on Saturday morning.
Erwin Alfonso, head of the Muntinlupa City Disaster Risk and Reduction Management Office (MCDRRMO), said the feeding program was conducted by the students of De La Salle Santiago Zobel School at Southville 3 Housing Project located in the New Bilibid Prison Reservation.
He said that at around 2:30 p.m., the victims started experiencing diarrhea, projectile vomiting, abdominal pain and dizziness.
Personnel from MCDRRMO, Barangay Poblacion and Muntinlupa Police immediately brought the victims to Ospital ng Muntinlupa (OsMun).
The Muntinlupa City government shouldered the treatment of the victims, 149 of them were already discharged. Only one was confined at OsMun.
Mayor Jaime Fresnedi went to Southville 3 on Saturday to check on the situation and ordered MCDRRMO that if OsMun could not accommodate all the victims, other patients should be taken to another hospital for immediate treatment.
Alfonso said testing of the food samples from the feeding program is being done by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) while the personnel from the city’s sanitation division under the City Health Office went to the housing project to investigate how the food was prepared.
He said based on the city government’s protocol, individuals or organizations should coordinate first with the City Nutrition Council before conducting any feeding program in Muntinlupa.
In a statement, DLSZ apologized “for the unfortunate incident that may have resulted from the September 22, 2018 feeding program called Goodbye Gutom that the school has been conducting for the past four years.”
“Although the alleged food poisoning and the cause for it has yet to be ascertained, DLSZ is exhausting all efforts to assist the affected families in coordination” with Mayor Fresnedi and other officials.
The school said about 220 to 250 residents were served breakfast meal consisting of sautéd ground pork, rice, boiled eggs, bananas, and bottled water at around 8:30 a.m..
The food was cooked and prepared by DLSZ students who were supervised by teachers, according to Suzette Balgos, head of DLSZ’s Advancement & Communications.
“Once again, DLSZ will continue to monitor the residents who are now recuperating and will extend all possible means to help them. The school has suspended the Goodbye Gutom Program until we have come to identify the root cause of this unfortunate event and will put in place appropriate measures to avoid a similar occurrence in the future,” the school added.