MANILA, Philippines – Luzviminda Lilio, 63, traveled all the way from her home province of Leyte to Pasig City just to try and catch a glimpse of former first lady Imelda Marcos on Wednesday, July 3.
She ended up in the emergency room of the Rizal Medical Center after over 200 people suffered from food poisoning during the Marcos matriarch’s 90th birthday celebration.
Lilio said she didnt’ think twice about leaving Leyte as soon as she heard the former first lady was going to hold a celebration at the Ynares Sports Complex in Pasig City to celebrate her 90th birthday.
Having been part of the “Maharlika Marcos Loyalist Incorporated” – a group of Marcos supporters, Lilio said she was ready to shell out her own money for the bus and boat ride to Manila.
Along with some 200 other people from Leyte, Lilio took out about P3,500 from her own pocket for the roundtrip voyage to Manila. While the sum was large, Lilio said she didn’t mind spending it as organizers supposedly promised to pay them back for the expense.
Lilio said she made the trip for the chance to see Marcos in person.
“Galing kami Leyte, nagbiyahe tapos dumating kahapon. Siyempre [gusto namin] makita] si Madame, personal,” Lilio told reporters. (We came from Leyte and arrived yesterday. Of course we wanted to see Madame [Imelda Marcos] in person.)
Lilio and her companions slept overnight at the Ynares Sports Complex on Tuesday. The next morning, she said guests were served packed meals of chicken adobo, boiled egg, and rice.
Lilio said the egg tasted a little spoiled when she ate it but continued eating as she and her companions were hungry by then. Minutes later, she experienced pain in her stomach and went outside the complex to see others vomiting.
Rushed to hospitals: Lilio was among the 43 patients rushed to the Rizal Medical Center.
According to Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, some 261 patients were rushed to nearby hospitals as of 3:40 pm. Of this number, at least two were severely hydrated.
The Department of Health said they expected the number of expected patients to rise and that the massive food poisioning was most likely caused by unsanitary handling and incorrect storage of food served.
Despite this, Lilio said she didn’t plan on complaining to the Marcos family or organizers of the event. She only hoped they would help with their treatment.
“Hindi naman nila sinadya. Wala namang gustong gawin, aksidente lang,” Lilio said. (They didn’t do it on purpose. They didn’t intend to do it, it was just an accident).
Duque said while the number of affected patients was large, government hospitals were ready to deal with the cases and he was confident all patients would be treated. – Rappler.com