Issue of July 15, 2018
Mt. Province

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Korean couple faces 18 charges
by Ofelia C. Empian

PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERN -- Mayor Ruben Tinda-an of Buguias, Benguet assured residents of Barangay Natubleng, who are concerned about the recent food poisoning incident involving 45 school children, that the local government unit and the police are working together for the resolution of the matter. Nineteen counts of child abuse were filed against the Koreans who gave the snacks that the children consumed. -- Ofelia Empian

The Korean couple who gave out snacks to schoolchildren but later suffered alleged food poisoning in Natubleng, Buguias, Benguet, is facing child abuse charges.

Buguias Municipal Police Station head C/Insp. Dexter Simon said 52-year-old Lee In Suk and 55-year-old Tie Hua Woo, are facing 18 charges for violation of Republic Act 7610 or the Child Abuse Law for allegedly manhandling the schoolchildren and forcing some of them to eat the snacks.

The couple is listed as missionaries presently residing in Barangay Bangao, Buguias. He said the couple, who is often seen going around nearby barangays before the incident, has not left the area.

Simon said the cases were filed at the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor in La Trinidad, Benguet. The subpoena, released last July 9, was received by the couple on July 11.

The couple was given 10 days to answer the allegations filed against them by the pupils involved, who were accompanied by their parents when they lodged their complaints.

Buguias police and the Bureau of Immigration are also investigating the status of the couple’s stay in the country. 

The number of schoolchildren affected by the alleged food poisoning also rose from 42 to 45 coming from Natubleng Elementary School and Natubleng High School, kindergarten, and one grade school teacher.

The provincial and municipal health offices are still awaiting the result of the laboratory tests done on the sample specimen submitted to the central office of the Department of Health.

Samples were taken from the snacks given to the children, the snacks from the boarding house of the couple, and the displays of the same snacks in the grocery where it was bought. Also, samples were taken from the water around the school area as a protocol with food poisoning cases.

Buguias Mayor Ruben Tinda-an, during the consultation with the parents, teachers, residents and barangay officials on July 9 called on residents to await the results of the laboratory tests as well as the resolution from the investigating prosecutor.

“As to the case of the poisoning, we cannot declare it unless there is evidence but we have gathered all the documents pertaining to this and submitted it to proper authorities,” he said.

Tinda-an assured that they are doing all they can for the resolution of the incident.

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