Portalet rental, candy-making in same compound in Davao City

THE SPECIAL Inter-Agency Investigation Task Group (SIITG) said on Wednesday one of the durian candy makers that figured in the news recently has a portalet rental business right within the same compound, where the candies are made, in Davao City.

Blesse's Durian is owned by one Jemson Aquino, who is also operating the portalet rental.

He is a sibling of the manufacturer of Wendy's Durian, the brand of durian candy that poisoned near 2,000 schoolchildren in Caraga Region three weeks ago.

Deputy regional director for operation Senior Superintendent Aaron Aquino (not related to the owners), who heads SIITG, said that they conducted another inspection at Blesse's Durian recently to verify the reports that the portalets are kept in the same area where the candies are being processed.

"A team from SIITG conducted an inspection at Blesse's Durian and we found out that the portalets are placed near the area where the durian candies are processed," Aquino told reporters during his guesting in Wednesday's AFP-PNP press conference held at The Royal Mandaya Hotel.

The name of the portable toilet business of Jemson Aquino is Ronil Sludge and Allied Services.

"I even asked the City Health Office-Environment Sanitation Division head Robert Oconer if it is really allowed to have a food factory beside a portalet business," he added.

But Aquino said that the CHO had acted on the matter and conducted an inspection in the area.

Aquino said that CHO had informed (Jemson) Aquino to move out the portable toilets out of the candy factory area.

Meanwhile, Aquino said they are still waiting for the official report on the laboratory analysis from FDA on the candy samples they got from the manufacturers in relation to the Caraga food poisoning incidents.

"We cannot move forward with our investigation without the official report from FDA. I've been asking them for a copy but unfortunately they did not give it yet."

Health Secretary Jannette Garin earlier bared that the durian candy that poisoned the schoolchildren in Caraga tested positive for staphylococcus bacteria, a bacteria commonly found on humans.

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