/ 22 May 2022

THE DEPARTMENT of Education on Saturday said it is investigating the food poisoning incident involving at least 100 students in Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental due to the contaminated milk distributed in schools under the School-Based Feeding Program.

In a statement, DepEd said it already coordinated with the local government unit of Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental, the National Dairy Authority, and concerned agencies for the analysis of milk samples and the investigation of the incident.

Based on field report, majority of the affected learners experienced mild illnesses, including dehydration and nausea.

“They were treated in nearby hospitals and were discharged later on,” the DepEd said.

“Nonetheless, DepEd has facilitated the provision of immediate medical assistance to affected individuals and will continue to monitor their health status,” it added.

The department said the SBFP is one of its priority initiatives that aims to address hunger among learners and encourage them to enroll.

The program also intends to contribute to the improvement of the learners’ nutritional status, in accordance with Republic Act No. 11037 or the Masustansyang Pagkain para sa Batang Pilipino Act.

“DepEd, through the Bureau of Learner Support Services-School Health Division and concerned field offices, is committed to continue assisting the learners and their families. We will likewise look into possible actions against those responsible entities or individuals,” the department said.

DepEd said it will look into possible actions against those who will be proven to be responsible for the incident.

“The health and safety of our learners remain the utmost priority of the Department, and we will ensure that measures will be instituted to prevent occurrence of similar incidents,” it said.

As per initial report, several students in Barangay Nagbinlod and Barangay Alangilan were rushed to the Bayawan City District Hospital after they started vomiting.

Negros Oriental Schools Division Superintendent Senen Paulin said 42 students were admitted to the hospital after showing signs of dehydration, while 25 students had mild symptoms of gastrointestinal illness.

The report also added 36 were immediately discharged after getting treatment on Thursday evening.