Donated beef for Zamboanga evacuees rots as people subsist on cassava cake | Inquirer News

Donated beef for Zamboanga evacuees rots as people subsist on cassava cake

Power outage, wrong stocking blamed for spoilage
/ 07:20 PM October 22, 2013


ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines — Hundreds of kilograms of beef being kept in a cold storage facility here and which were intended for those displaced by the fighting between government troops and Moro National Liberation Front fighters, were put to waste by long hours of power outages that have hit the city and the rest of Mindanao, officials said.

The estimates on the volume of the wasted meat varied from a few hundred kilograms to as high as 800 kilograms.


But members of the city council, who went to the cold storage facility said whatever the volume was, it would have fed a lot of people already.


Antonio Orendain, the city administrator, said city officials came to know of the rotting meat, which he estimated at about 800 kilograms, when it started emitting foul odor while being kept inside a cold storage facility owned by a businessman he did not identify.

The meat was part of the 1.9 tons of beef the city government received from the Turkish Tolerance School on October 15 through its administrator Mehmet Biter.

The donation was coursed through the city mayor’s office and the city council.

“Because of the huge volume, the intention was to save the meat for the next day but due to the blackouts, the meat was lost to spoilage,” Orendain said.

But Orendain said he was unsure if the spoiled meat was that given to Mayor Ma. Isabelle Salazar’s office or the one received by the city council through Councilor Myra Paz Abubakar.

A staff at the Sangguniang Panlungsod said the odor emitted by the wasted meat was so offensive that it was like a rotten corpse.


Abubakar said she believed the manner by which the meat was stocked, not the power outages, caused the spoilage.

“It was likely not due to the blackouts but due to poor stacking inside the freezer,” she said.

Abubakar also tried to downplay the problem by saying it only involved about a hundred kilograms of what remained of the donation she had received.

She said that as far as the donation coursed through the city coucil was concerned, most of it had been distributed to “16 evacuation centers on October 15 and October 16.”

“It took almost midnight for our volunteers to divide and distribute the meat. Some remaining meat were used for community kitchen cooking at the Santa Maria and what was left of what we got, which I estimated to be about a hundred kilos were placed in a cold storage facility of a friend,” she said.

Palma Saidi, an evacuee staying at the Don Joaquin F. Enriquez Memorial Sports Complex and a resident of Santa Barbara, said she was not among those who got a ration of beef meat and that she and her family have been subsisting on the daily dose of cassava cake for survival.

Saidi said that since she started staying at the grandstand, “I have not tasted beef yet but I know some were able to get their share yesterday.”  “Such a pity I was not able to get mine because it’s limited,” Saidi shaking her head at the news about the spoiled donation.

Zaida Maru, a grandmother of three, said she felt so bad at the thought that hundreds of meat got spoiled and they were not given a share of it.

Abubakar said the meat had been buried inside the compound of the city motorpool in Barangay (village) San Roque because it was not fit for human consumption.


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TAGS: Beef, Food Ration, Insurgency, MILF, rebellion, Regions, relief, rescue

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