MABINI, Bohol – Some families and relatives of the fallen 27 school kids who died after eating cassava cake allegedly (or accidentally) mixed with pesticide can hardly forget and forgive what happened to their beloved children on March 9, 2005. But for Merlinda Luyong, 36, a mother of Milven Luyong, one of the victims who was supposed to be 17 years today, said that the compensation promised did not come.
“Wala pa mobayad,” she said when interviewed by DYTR during the 10th anniversary of the incident. While holding five lit candles at her son’s grave after the mass held for the “fallen 27” during the anniversary at the cemetery, she wasn’t able to hold back her tears, saying in Visayan it still hurts losing a loved one.
She’s married to Vicente Luyong, 35, a relative of Anecita “Aning” Luyong, who was reportedly the one who cooked the sweetened cassava cake sold to the school kids of San Jose Elementary School of this town. She was a septuagenarian at the time when the incident took place.
Felisitas Vallecer, 54, is another mother who was interviewed, did not say anything when asked if she forgive the one responsible of the incident. And like Merlinda Luyong she cannot help but shed tears when a mere mention of her daughter Riza Vallecer, then only 7 years old, one of the fallen 27 school kids buried here.
She said she prayed that her daughter “tua na unta sa langit,” saying in vernacular that maybe it was the will of God.
Another teary mother, Balbina Cual, 41, put some flowers above the concrete tomb and lit some candles for her daughter Vinamae, then only 7, one of the poisoned school kids. Her other daughter, Mericris, then 8, survived. She and her husband can hardly accept what happened to Vinamae.
Rogelio Luyong, 20, a survivor of the incident, said he was able to move on. He is a scholar of Bohol Island State University (BISU) taking HRST. He said he’s happy he survived after what happened.
He vividly recalled how he was made to take a coconut milk so that he would throw-up hoping to take the poison out of his digestive system. He was able to eat a portion of the cassava cake after he was given bis classmate Milo Martinito, also a survivor.
He said he was rushed to Mabini health center, then to Tagbilaran for treatment and then landed to Ubay hospital. He was grateful he was saved.
Municipal and barangay officials, teachers and parents of barangay San Jose of this town have paid respects Monday to school children who died due to food poisoning.
Fr. Alvin Pobar said a mass held at the cemetery in the barangay for the souls of the school kids, 27 of them died while some 103 landed in different hospitals. (rvo)