ACCOUNTABLE. Davao City Mayor Sebastian Duterte (right) on Thursday (Aug. 4, 2022) expresses willingness to press charges against those behind the diarrhea outbreak in Toril District last month. The outbreak killed six people and affected 217 individuals. (Screengrab)

DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sebastian “Baste” Duterte vowed to hold accountable the culprits behind the diarrhea outbreak in Toril District here that killed six people, saying the city may pursue charges.

“People have lost their lives just because of mishandling of food. I hope that you have put yourselves in the situation of the victims,” Duterte told reporters Thursday.

However, the mayor said he was disappointed by reports that families of the victims are not keen on pressing charges against the culprits.

“I told them if they decide to press charges, I will accompany them. However, the family said they would rather not,” he said.

“That is what I want,” he added when asked whether the city government will file charges instead.

The Toril District diarrhea outbreak is believed to have started on July 15, based on records of admitted patients in hospitals.

The City Health Office (CHO) declared the outbreak over on July 29 after at least 75 percent of the 217 victims had recovered.

Following the outbreak, Duterte said the local government will enforce additional policies for street food vendors before they are allowed to operate.

“I have already tasked the barangays and CHO to coordinate. Having a health card is only one of the requirements, there will be more. We cannot allow this to happen again. It is unacceptable,” he said.

Based on investigations, food may have been contaminated during preparation and handling.

It was also found that proper storage, delayed serving, and an unsanitary environment may have contributed to the food contamination because of exposure to elements. (PNA)