The change of policy in the procurement scheme appeared to be the culprit of alleged food poisoning that involved young school children in Jagna town in its feeding program instituted by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
This surfaced following an incident on August 8, 2019, there that took place barangay in Can-upao, Jagna, where two (2) children were hospitalized due to Gastroenteritis suspected to be related to the feeding activity. But the doctor said it was not due to food poisoning.
The committee on health of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan learned this recently after it received a letter from Jagna Vice-Mayor Theodore Abrenilla who asked an investigation for the alleged food poisoning.
The vice-mayor told the health committee meeting that it used to be that they receive monetary assistance through a fund transfer for the said program “but this year instead of money, they received goods which turned out to be not safe for human consumption.”
Abrenilla added that “they received complaints from DSWD personnel and (daycare in-charge) that most of the goods that arrived in their office are no longer safe for human consumption probably because of the delay in delivery.”
Melber Lachmann, PDO I of the DSWD National office admitted that it used to be a fund transfer during the 1st to 8th cycles of the Feeding Program.
In the following cycles of the program, the procedure was changed to goods delivery based on National Memorandum Circular No. 03, series of 2019 issued by DSWD Secretary Rolando Joselito D. Bautista.
The change of procedure “was due to non- accreditation of suppliers with PhilGEPS and the many instances of unliquidated funds,” Lachmann said.
Lachmann added that “this is a pilot implementation of the new scheme wherein the National DSWD will be the one to procure the goods.”
Alma Acera, Municipal Social Welfare Development Officer said that when they received the first delivery of the goods for the feeding program of the DSWD, the meat products were in dark color, most of the vegetables were rotten and that accordingly, they gave feedback to the DSWD Regional Office through writing including a feedback report.
Municipal Kag. Maricris Jamora said that the council passed Resolution urging SP to conduct an investigation hoping they will be heard by the DSWD Regional and National Offices since “Jagna is an awardee for their compliance of Feeding Programs.”
She said that this year the winning bidder is from DUmageute City after the DSWD national office conducted the public bidding.
Jamora suspected that the goods they will be receiving may no longer be safe for human consumption considering the distance.
The provincial board then recommended that a money/fund transfer scheme is preferable and to simplify procedures in the liquidation of funds.
Board Member Dr. Elpidio Bonita chairs the said committee with BM Jade Bautista and BM Dr. Romulo Cepedoza, vice-chairperson and member, respectively. (rvo)