It is easy to just point fingers if an unfortunate event like food poisoning happened in an institution like New Bilibid Prisons (NBP). However, digging on the issue could lead to understanding possible motive behind immediate allegations.
For Atty. Alvin Navarro, the President of Mang King Catering Services, Inc., the current epidemic hitting the Bureau of Corrections (BUCOR) is a tragedy of major proportions that manifestly show the incompetence of its leadership and the state of our current penal system.
Navarro pointed out that when the diarrhea epidemic hit the Bilibid prison compound in Muntinlupa, the immediate reaction was to blame the cause of the outbreak on the food service provider, Mang Kiko.
“Bereft of any evidence, officials shouted “food poisoning” as the cause and trumpeted this in media leaving no benefit or an iota of doubt as to the true cause of the outbreak. Even before an investigation was formally mounted, General Benjamin Delos Santos, BUCOR Chief, immediately pointed the finger at the food served by the caterer paksiw na bangus,” said Navarro.
Only when Secretary Vitalliano Aguirre entered the picture was an investigation formally ordered and launched as led by the DOH together with the Muntinlupa Government.
The company President also stressed that the water is the source of outbreak as he mentioned that they have written numerous letters to officials of BUCOR stating the poor quality of the water based on lab tests they had privately contracted and conducted. This, likewise, prompted Mang Kiko Catering Services Inc. to request permission and thereafter install their own chlorinator in the kitchen area to ensure a clean and safe water supply for the meals being prepared.
According to medical specialists, food poisoning happens immediately and affects those that were served bad food or bad water, and will only affect the immediate batch.
“If the ridiculous claims of BUCOR are to be believed that it is food poisoning, then Mang Kiko would have been serving tainted food even after the first batch had been affected by the diarrhea outbreak within the Maximum compound of Bilibid,” Navarro reiterates.
At the same time that the investigation is going on, Navaroo said BUCOR threatened to blacklist Mang Kiko to make sure it no longer participates in any future bidding process of which two have already previously failed or declared a failure, due to unqualified bidders, by no less than the BUCOR head himself, Gen. Benjamin Delos Santos.
In view of the highly peculiar circumstances, Mang Kiko Catering Service Inc. has written the Office of the President seeking remedy and has acquired the services of Atty. Lorna Kapunan as its legal counsel.
Mang Kiko President Alvin Navarro stated that “because of accusations that there has been a deliberate act to cause this outbreak, the threat of blacklisting and a threat that some party will be facing justice despite the investigations yet being concluded, we are left with no recourse under the present circumstances but to protect our rights under the law. We cannot sit down and just look at what we have built over the last 11 years be eroded by baseless and unsubstantiated accusations. We have asked for fairness in the process, and we feel that we have been made the culprit and victim in this issue.”