As many as 261 guests showed symptoms of food poisoning while attending the 90th birthday celebration of former First Lady Imelda Marcos in Pasig on Wednesday, the Philippine Red Cross said.
Mrs. Marcos’ son, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr., apologized to the stricken guests and said they were coordinating with those affected and continuously attending to their needs.
“According to reports, an estimated 2,000 participants were present in which at least 137 individuals suffered vomiting and dizziness,”the PRC said in an earlier Twitter post.
But as of 5:30 p.m., several hospitals in Pasig and nearby cities admitted a total of 261 people who fell ill after attending the birthday party of Mrs. Marcos, who turned 90 on July 2.
According to preliminary findings by the Pasig City Health Office, the food poisoning could have been triggered by chicken adobo and egg served to the guests, Bryant Wong of the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office said on GMA News TV’s QRT beamed nationwide.
Wong added the organizer of the event already pledged to shoulder all the hospital expenses of the victims.
At the same time, Wong said the packed meals handed out earlier in the morning outside the venue were more probably the culprit than the lunch buffet served inside the Ynares Sports Arena.
PRC Chairman Richard Gordon said the medical teams had already brought three patients to the Rizal Medical Center and assisted 25 others.
“PRC medic teams are currently responding to an alleged food poisoning incident at the birthday celebration of Ms. Imelda Marcos at Ynares Sports Complex this morning,” Gordon said in a Twitter post.
“They transported 3 patients to Rizal Medical Center and assisted 25 other individuals. Updates to follow,” he added.
The Eastern Police District earlier said there were more or less 2,500 visitors present at the event.
The EPD said paramedics and first responders rushed to the scene to attend to the victims, who had episodes of vomiting and abdominal discomfort.
Further investigation is ongoing.