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SU Admin Investigates Alleged ‘Food Contamination’ Incident

by Ranjie Nocete & Nathaniel Carampatana | October 7, 2022

Silliman University administration investigates an alleged “food contamination” incident affecting 74 attendees from the College of Mass Communication (CMC) and School of Public Affairs and Governance (SPAG) after attending their acquaintance parties Saturday. 

The attendees experienced diarrhea and vomiting allegedly from the food served by the university’s food cafeteria, although there were other foods brought in from outside of the university.  

Dr. Madeline B. Quiamco, CMC dean, sent an incident report Monday to Prof. Jane Annette Belarmino, Vice President for Development, Enterprise, and External Affairs (VPDEEA) who leads the investigation. For his part, Dr. Ferdinand Mangibin, SPAG dean, also sent a letter to VP Belarmino providing more information to help in the investigation.

In her incident report, Dr. Quiamco said that 20 out of the 62 attendees of the acquaintance party organized by the Kapunungan ng mga Mass Communicators (KMC) were affected.

Dr. Quiamco, in an interview with tWS, explained that the reason why they linked the symptoms to the food at the acquaintance party was because “that was the only common thing they did.” She also did not believe someone messed with the food while it was in the Multi-Purpose Room.

The affected students who went to the doctor were diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis and mild diarrhea. 

Dr. Quiamco admitted that she was worried about the financial strain caused by the incident. “Many of the affected students did not want to go to the Clinic because of the money and time they must expend.”

Meanwhile, SPAG’s Council Governor Marc Lirazan confirmed that 54 were affected, including SPAG Dean Dr. Ferdinand Mangibin, out of the 85 who attended the SPAG acquaintance party.

Lirazan also said that the majority of those affected from SPAG only took over-the-counter medications and spent an average of ₱100. However, there was one case of hospitalization.

Dr. Edna Gladys T. Calingacion, Student Services dean, assured that the students affected can be reimbursed. However, only one student went to see her since Monday.

“I have requested the units concerned to inform the students to see me in the office for reimbursement of medicines bought and laboratory examinations required, reimbursement for hospitalization expenses through the student insurance, and to buy prescribed medicines,” Calingacion said.

During the event, Dr. Quiamco shared that the CMC ordered 80 pieces of buttered chicken and 60 cups of rice which was delivered at about 3 in the afternoon but was served at around 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, according to Lirazan, SPAG was served rice, Hawaiian chicken, pancit guisado, macaroons, and blue and pink lemonade. He noted that one of the students reported the Hawaiian chicken tasted a “bit odd.” 

“I call on that this recurring incident be investigated thoroughly and be treated seriously. I will not take this fiasco lightly and that those responsible be held accountable for compromising the health of my constituents – the students,” he expressed.

To prevent an incident from happening again, Dr. Quiamco suggested that the time window between cooking and eating should be closer to avoid room for contamination.

As of writing, the SU cafeteria, VPDEEA, and the SPAG dean have informed the Weekly Sillimanian that they will be waiting for the official findings of the investigation.

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