The Truth Behind Diarrhea Outbreak in New Bilibid Prison
“Speculations that the cause (of diarrhea outbreak) is food poisoning are very premature and baseless. It is not possible that the food served by Mang Kiko caused the diarrhea outbreak.”
This was reiterated by Atty. Alvin Navarro, President of Mang Kiko Catering Services, Inc., and Atty. Lorna Kapunan, legal counsel of the catering firm.
In a press conference in Quezon City, Atty. Kapunan insisted that the cause of the outbreak which affected a thousand inmates is the unsafe drinking water in the New Bilibid Prisons (NBP).
“Contaminated water is the likely cause of the diarrhea outbreak. Mang Kiko is not the supplier of the water,” Kapunan stressed.
Navarro also pointed out that in 2010, they have already informed Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) of what they have confirmed that the water in Bilibid is contaminated with coliform, however, the leadership didn’t took any actions.
What was both Navarro and Kapunan believe as the reason behind the allegation of food poisoning and pinning down Mang Kiko is the intention of BuCor Chief Benjamin Delos Santos to replace them as the food service provider for the penal colonies.
As far back as last year, there were public biddings held by BuCor for the catering services in the penal colonies of Leyte, Davao, Zamboanga and Palawan for 2017. Mang Kiko won those public biddings. To date, Director General Benjamin de los Santos, head of BuCor, refuses to act on the notices of award and contracts due to Mang Kiko without any legal or factual justification whatsoever. Mang Kiko requested for the release of said notices of award and contracts, but Director de los Santos ignored the request.
“There is an apparent attempt to favor a new caterer who cannot even satisfy the minimum requirements of RA 9184 (The Government Procurement Reform Act). Blaming Mang Kiko for the diarrhea outbreak appears to be part of a vicious and concerted effort to destroy the good name and reputation of Mang Kiko, to ensure that it will be blacklisted as a food caterer, and to bring in a favored caterer in BuCor in complete disregard of the provisions of RA 9184,” Atty. Kapunan added.
Navarro emphasized that Mang Kiko has been providing catering services to the inmates of NBP for the past 11 years and record will bear out that there has never been any incident of food poisoning associated with the food they served.
They reiterate that Mang Kiko follows the strictest food safety policies and highest food quality standards, employs sanitation guidelines for food handlers and for physical processing operation of food to ensure safe, nutritious products.
They call on Department of Health and the City Health Officials of Muntinlupa to maintain impartiality in testing the water supply of the inmates in NBP.