cdn mobile

DSWD blames handling for spoiled food in Boracay aid packs

By: June 25,2018 - 09:04 AM

ILOILO CITY — Food packs distributed to displaced residents of Boracay Island were contaminated during handling and hauling of the goods, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) confirmed.

Rebecca Geamala, DSWD Western Visayas director, said the agency, however, had confirmed contamination of only seven of the 2,760 food packs distributed on June 16.

“First of all, we apologize,” Geamala said in a statement. “We do not want to see this happening,” she added.

“In fact, we detest that these contaminated goods reached residents of Boracay,” Geamala said. “It is not acceptable.”

Foul sauce

Citing results of an initial investigation by the agency, Geamala said the contamination happened because of improper handling and hauling from the mainland of Aklan to the island.

Several residents, who had lined up for hours to get the food packs, had complained of spoiled canned goods and foul-smelling rice.

Concepcion (not her real name), 68, said she noticed that the sauce of a canned sardine was bubbly and emitted foul odor. She took a taste of the sauce and was sickened.

“It was so bad that I wanted to throw up,” she said, asking that her real name not be mentioned for fear of retaliation by the government.

She opened another can and gave it to her dog and stray cats. Her dog vomited and the cats stayed away.

Risk to kids

“What if children ate it?” Concepcion said.

Several other residents economically displaced by the closure of the island to tourists also received the food packs.

It was the first time that government agencies distributed food packs to tens of thousands of residents and workers who lost their livelihood or stopped working for the six-month rehabilitation of Boracay.

Another resident, Germelina (not her real name), 49, said there was nothing wrong with the canned goods she received but the rice was inedible.

Insects all over

“It was foul-smelling and there were insects all over,” she said. “Maybe it was stored for so long,” added Germelina.

In a phone interview, Geamala said the rice came from the National Food Authority and had been stored for only about two months.

“We ensure that all the canned goods are not expired,” she said.

The DSWD regional office has ordered the immediate replacement of contaminated food packs.

The We Are Boracay, a group of Boracay residents, called for an investigation.

“Government agencies must be sensitive,” the group said in a statement.

“The calamitous situation in Boracay is state-induced and not of the people’s choosing,” the group added.

“Not accustomed to asking and waiting for help, many people in Boracay find this hard to accept,” it said.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: aid, blames, Boracay, DSWD, food, packs

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.