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'We deserve clean and safe food'—Mayon evacuees

Social Welfare Secretary Dinky Soliman vehemently denied that the relief packs sent by the Department of Social Welfare and Development to Mayon evacuees were spoiled.

Soliman announced to the media today that 33 of the canned goods sent by her department were burst open "because of the weight."

She is nonetheless asking their procurement service to probe the goods.

"All these goods that were brought to Albay were newly-bought," Soliman added.

Soliman's statement comes after reports that a camp manager from the Anislag, Daraga evacuation center was complaining that some of the food sent to them were spoiled.

Over the weekend, 22,450 food packs were delivered through seven cabinet secretaries to the evacuees.

Each food pack contained 6 kilos of rice, 4 cans of corned beef, 4 cans of sardines, 6 packs of noodles, and cereal drinks.

Meanwhile, Albay Governor Joey Salceda said that the existence of the spoiled food packs was a "reasonable error" on the part of the DSWD.

These packs, Salceda said, were intercepted, before they even reached the evacuees.

Alarm


Meanwhile, in an interview by BICOL STANDARD, an evacuee who asked for his name to be withheld said that he was alarmed by the error.

"Even if we are needy, we still deserve clean and safe food," he said.

He added that he felt insulted that the lapse happened.

"They want to keep us safe from the eruption, but what if we die from the food they give us here?" he asked.

Caution


Meanwhile, a grocery store worker in Legazpi City told BICOL STANDARD that the canned goods were most probably unsafe for eating.

"Even canned goods with a little dent or bulge means that there is bacteria in the can. What more if the cans have already burst open?" she said.

"We are repeatedly cautioned against selling canned goods which have holes, bulges, or dents by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even if they are still mostly sealed, the food inside may be spoiled," she added.

The store worker explained that based on her experience, these canned goods were possibly improperly stored or handled.

"They may be old stock. Just because they were recently bought by the DSWD doesn't mean that they are new. Many of these canned goods which are about to spoil are sold for huge discounts," she said.—BICOLSTANDARD.PH

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