The family members of a 38-year-old female locally stranded individual (LSI) on quarantine in Busuanga town have accused some personnel of the municipal government of bullying, after the LSI complained about being served stale food.
Mhen Dominguez of Barangay Salvacion in Busuanga said her sister, Sarah Gajardo Manlabao, is being bullied by someone from the “kitchen team” that is serving their meals while she and the others are quarantined in the town’s evacuation center.
Dominguez posted a photo of an empty styrofoam food pack on June 26 that was reportedly served by the kitchen staff to her sister, with a scribbled note: “Wala pong food si Sarah Manlabao sagot ng parents niya”.
Prior to this, Dominguez said her sister had posted on her FB account a note that she and her companions were served with stale food. She included in her post a photo of the food that was served to them.
Dominguez shared the photos of the styrofoam lunch box of her sister in an FB post.
“Shout out nga po pala sa nagbigay nito (styrofoam lunch box) sa ate ko [insert crying emoji]. Food pack na walang laman at may nakasulat pa. Naka-quarantine sa munisipyo ng Busuanga. Sana po nabusog si ate, sana po maraming blessings ang ibigay ni Lord sa gumawa nito. Salamat po sa tulong at effort. Maraming salamat [insert heart emoji]. God bless [insert angry emoji],” she said.
Interviewed by Palawan News, Dominguez claimed that someone in the kitchen team is trying to get back at her sister by giving her an empty meal box with a note.
She said their eldest sister in the family, who arrived aboard a 2GO vessel on June 13, was the only one among the quarantined individuals who “took the guts” to post on social media about the meals that already tasted unpleasant.
“Yon nga po, nag-post yong ate ko na panis ang pagkain nila — hindi nila nakain halos. Marami nga po silang nakakain, siya lang ang naglakas ng loob na mag-post kasi wala silang mapagsabihan, bawal din silang kausapin doon sa quarantine facility,” Dominguez said.
“Ilang beses na daw kasi nangyari yon, puro panis. [Ang] iba po may mga anak, sumakit yong tiyan, nag-LBM (loss bowel movement),” she added.
She said Manlabao and the others started experiencing stomach ache and LBM on June 20 to June 21 after consuming their meals on June 19. On June 22 and June 25, stale meals were allegedly served again.
Dominguez said mayor Elizabeth Cervantes’ office had been informed, as well Salvacion barangay chairman Henry Yala.
They were told an investigation will be made, however, as of press time, none has been heard by their family.
She said they have nothing against the municipal government, but they want to know who is the person who bullied their sister.
“Iimbestigahan daw po pero wala pa ring update. Dito kasi kapag hindi mo pino-post, pabingi-bingihan lang nila ang mga hinaing ng tao. Kinawawa nila yong ate ko. Hindi nakakain ng tanghalian. Ang sabi daw galing sa taga-luto yong styro na walang laman na may nakasulat na yon daw ang kainin niya,” Dominguez said.
“Gusto lang namin malaman kung sino ang may gawa. Wala kaming issue sa munisipyo po. Kasi pagbiday daw kay ate ay nagtatawanan pa daw sila. Pinagkakaisahan daw si ate. Pero hindi rin daw sila mag-amin. Gusto namin managot siya kasi hndi nakakain si ate, sobrang sama ng loob niya. Sobra naman kasi yong ginawa sa kanya,” she added.
Response from Busuanga LGU
Sought for comment, Busuanga information officer Jonathan Dabuit said on Sunday morning that the case was an isolated incident.
Dabuit said the LSI should have reported the matter initially to proper authorities.
“Sana kapag nagkaroon ng problema ay hindi sa Facebook kaagad, social media kaagad. Kasi ang sitwasyon na yan upon investigation natin ay hindi naman lahat nag-reklamo siya lang ang katangi-tangi sa lahat na nagreklamo,” Dabuit said.
Dabuit admitted that the kitchen crew might have mixed old food with the newly cooked serving, causing the food pack to go stale.
“Tinanong din natin yong head ng kitchen and yong crew, ang sinasabi nila ay mukhang mayroong nalutong bago, nasama yong medyo luma. Siguro noong tanghali may nasobrang pagkain naisama and then noong sinerve nila napanis o nasira. Yong sa kanya lang naman at hindi naman siya nangyari ng ilang beses, isang beses lang nangyari yan,” Dabuit said.
Dabuit said they have not found out yet who was responsible for the mistake.
However, he said the kitchen staff has already been reprimanded and has been told to be careful in food preparation and not to do any untoward reaction when the LSIs are complaining because of the anxiety of being quarantined.
“Inalam din natin yon at wala naman din nagsabi doon sa kitchen crew kung sino ang may gawa, pero sa tingin natin mga magkaka-friend sila sa FB na nakita yong post. Siguro nagalit kaagad dahil sa ganoon ang reaction noong LSI natin kaya nagawa,” Dabuit added.
(With a report from Ruth Rodriguez)