Monday, May 15, 2006

Parents of food-poisoning victims want people responsible identified

A GROUP of parents have called on the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to step in and identify the people who should be held responsible for the food poisoning of close to 90 workers of the Gaisano malls in the city a few weeks ago.

The group, composed of parents of some of the victims, said it was dismayed over the failure of local authorities to go public with the results of their investigation into the food poisoning.

"It would be hard for workers to file a complaint. They are only ordinary workers,’’ a parent of one of the victims said. He requested anonymity, saying his daughter is still working as a cashier at one of the Gaisano malls.

The group said it was puzzled because the team created to investigate the Gaisano incident has yet to release a clear investigation report.

"We want to know the result of the investigation and their recommendation. Who should be made to pay?’’ the group asked.

They said they were happy at first because many investigators and doctors came. ‘‘But all of a sudden, there was silence. It’s as if no investigation was ever made,’’ they said.

On the day Gaisano workers were rushed to hospitals, officials immediately formed a team composed of experts from the Department of Health (DOH), the city hall-run JR Borja Memorial Hospital and the state-run Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) to investigate the Gaisano incident.

Councilor Simeon Licayan, chairperson of the city’s health committee, also said at that time that a medical team from city hall led by Dr. Joselito Retuya was tasked to investigate. He said city hall’s actions would be based on the team’s recommedations.

"We’re still waiting... no one has really identified the people who should be held liable," the parents of the victims said.

Councilor Reynaldo Advincula said health authorities were certain the workers became sick after eating pancit (noodles) served by the employees’ cooperative. He however said the people who should be held liable have yet to be identified.

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