LAPU-LAPU CITY- A child died while his other siblings were poisoned after they ate puffer fish for dinner last Tuesday here. Mateo Casiao, 5, was brought to the Santa Rosa Community Hospital in Olango Island were he died while his brothers Gian,12 and Derick, 9 and sisters Miles ;10, Shantal, 4 and Maria Theresa, 2, were all transferred to the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) in Cebu City for treatment.
The Casiao were residents of Sitio Song-ong, Barangay Pangan-an, an island village where fishing is the main source of livelihood. Other reports said that the parents of the victims also ate the fish but Pangan-an Barangay Captain Virgilio “Otto” Casiao, their grandfather, said that his nephew Florencio, and his wife Margie ,were not around when it happened.
He said the children cooked it wrong which caused them to be poisoned. The fish should have been grilled after its toxic part is removed but the children instead made a soup dish called “nilarang (sour and spicy fish soup).”
Casiao said the fish were also not cleaned thoroughly and was mixed with some “tikong (yellow boxfish)”, which looked closely similar to pufferfish. Tikong according to the village official is poisonous if not cleaned well.
“Ila man gud nga gilarang unya wala malimpyuhi ug maayo. Nasagol sab sa tikong nga makahilo pud kun dili tarungon ug luto,” Casiao told iNews.ph in a mobile phone interview. Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza for her part reminded the residents of their island barangays to clean and cook thoroughly the puffer fish.
The fish is abundant in Pangan-an and the other barangays in the Olango Island Group. The Mayor said she even loved to eat “tikong” once it is grilled as its taste is succulent. “Lami man ganahan man ko sa Tikong.
Ang pagluto ra gyud tingali, kinahanglan ayuhon gyud, ” Radaza told reporters, adding, her office is ready to extend assistance to the victims.According to Capt. Casiao, he personally attended to the victims.
He first brought them to the community hospital in Santa Rosa via boat and later to the Lapu-Lapu City mainland where an ambulance waited for them for the transfer to the VSMMC.