DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio recommended the Department of Education and the local government of Mati City to conduct an investigation after 38 student athletes were hospitalized after they were served with leftover food.
In a statement on Sunday, Mayor Duterte said:
“I recommend to the Department of Education and the Local Government Unit of Mati to investigate the teachers and the persons in charge of the group.”
“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,” Duterte said.
Three coaches, one kitchen crew and 34 student athletes who are delegates of Mati City for the this year’s Davao Region Athletic Association (DAVRAA) Meet were admitted to the Southern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC) on Saturday after experiencing abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
According to the initial report by the City Health Office, “the people in charge of the contingent served the leftover food from the previous night for breakfast to the athletes.”
“The leftovers for breakfast were served for lunch and then the same happened for dinner,” the CHO said.
It also added that the athletes might have drank from water source not cleared for consumption.
“This obvious cost cutting on the budget for the meals is tantamount to corruption and should be dealt with severely,” said the mayor.
She added that, “limited resources should not be an excuse for reckless behavior which endangers the lives of people, especially children.”
Jenelito Atillo, spokesperson of DepEd-11 stressed that the department will do its part in the investigation.
“We know that it was not intentional, no interest to harm the delegates,” Atillo said, adding the incident will undergo due process.
“We have to also balance and equilibrate our actions in accordance to due process,” he added.
Josephine Villafuerte, head of the CHO said five student athletes remain admitted in the hospital, while the rest were already discharged.
“There’s no need to worry because everybody is taken cared of. They’re all going out o the hospital and they are going back on the field to play. That’s what we really wanted,” Villafuerte said.
Davao is the host city for the week-long sports event that commenced here on Sunday. (With reports from Robby Joy D. Salveron/davaotoday.com)