Poisoning downs 33 athletes
DAVAO CITY — At least 33 athletes and three coaches were rushed to hospitals here for food poisoning.
Lawrence Bantiding, assistant city administrator, said the food poisoning case struck athletes from the Mati City contingent in the week-long Davao Regional Athletic Association (Davraa) meet.
The food that was served to members of the Mati contingent, which turned out to be contaminated, was prepared by cooks that the contingent had brought along and not by the city government, the host of the Davraa meet.
“The affected delegates and coaches had dinner that was procured, prepared and served by the Mati contingent managers,” Bantiding said.
He said Mati athletes suffered nausea, vomiting and abdominal pains and were rushed to hospital by medical teams from Central 911, Davao City’s emergency response agency.
Bantiding said the sickness was not too serious to keep the athletes from competing, but the case prompted the city government to strictly screen food being served to athletes.
Officials would ensure that food preparation was done in clean areas, he said.
The case was now being investigated “and all responsible parties would be made accountable,” said the city official.
Taking care of athletes
Michael Denton Aportadera, head of the city sports office, said aside from clean food, the city government also wanted to ensure that athletes from the four Davao provinces and Compostela Valley would have clean water.
He said water tanks and containers with faucets had been installed in strategic locations to meet the demand of athletes.
Leaflets had been distributed to inform athletes of the city’s laws, like those against smoking and jaywalking, said Aportadera.
The city government, he said, “provided all the needed logistics.” He did not say how much was spent by the city for hosting Davraa, which was in preparation for the city’s possible hosting duty for the 2019 Palarong Pambansa.
Aportadera said the city would make a formal bid to host the national sporting event. Hosting Davraa was one of the requirements for the city to make a bid, he said.
Mayor Sara Duterte said based on the report of the city health office, the athletes were “served the leftover food from the previous night for breakfast.”
“The leftovers for breakfast were served for lunch and then the same happened for dinner,” said the mayor, quoting the report. “It was likewise reported that they might have allowed the athletes to drink from water sources not cleared for human consumption,” Duterte said.
She urged the Department of Education and the local government of Mati to investigate teachers and those in charge of the group.
“This reckless action resulted in the injury of individuals, obvious cost-cutting on the budget for the meals is tantamount to corruption and should be dealt with severely,” the mayor said. —Allan Nawal
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