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45 school children in Mlang hospitalized due to "tawas" in fried banana

Local News • 17:00 PM Tue May 23, 2023
Williamor A. Magbanua
Pupils of Palma Perez Elementary School were rushed to the hospital after eating banana with "tawas." (MDRRMO/DXND photos)

KIDAPAWAN CITY  – An alum powder, locally known as “tawas,” has downed at least 45 pupils of Palma Perez Elementary School in Barangay Palma Perez, Mlang, North Cotabato, officials said today.

Dr. Glecerio Sotea, municipal health officer, said the fired banana coated with flour mistakenly rolled over in “tawas” instead of white sugar.

Direct inspection showed that the white crystalline substance was obviously alum powder that used to cure mouth soar or underarm deodorizer, Sotea said.

He said no laboratory test was done because clearly alum powder was used.

After eating fried banana, the learners experienced headache, weakness of the body and vomited.  They were rused to the hospital in Barangay Poblacion, about 14 kilometers away.

Some of the pupils were sent home after first aid while others, about 15, remained in the hospital and was expected to be discharged today.

Sotea said the incident was unintentional based on the CCTV footage showing the vendor took the alum power hastily from a display cabinet that she mistakenly used instead of white sugar.

“It was unintentional, she was in a hurry,” Sotea said of the vendor, citing CCTV footages.

Ma. Elna Jontongco, school principal, said the vendor who was not identified in the report, was one of the most trusted in preparing snacks and food for the school.

Like Sotea, Jontongco, said it was unintentional.

“I am very sorry for the incident. We will make sure that this will never happen again,” Jontongco said.


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