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By Francis Allan L. Angelo

A BEEF stew laced with a chemical used in bleaching laundry killed a woman and downed 14 others in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo Sunday evening.

Elizabeth Borsillo, 27, of Brgy. Balibagan Oeste, Santa Barbara died after eating pochero (beef stew with banana and other vegetables) prepared by another victim Nelida Mabal, 61 also of the said village.

According to Mayor Isabelo Maquino of Sta. Barbara, Mabal prepared the deadly stew to feed those who attended the wake of a relative of one of the victims.

Maquino said they received reports that Mabal seasoned the broth with oxalic acid, which is used in cleaning or bleaching laundry, after mistaking the chemical for salt.

Oxalic acid is used as a cleaning agent, especially for the removal of rust or removal of iron from minerals specimens. It is corrosive and toxic to humans.

Borsillo did not make it to the Ramon Tabiana Memorial District Hospital (RTMDH) when she fainted minutes after eating the deadly dish.

The other victims aside from Borsillo and Mabal are Gaudiosa Sumalaay, 49, Justine Sinoro, 11, Jade Sinoro, 8, Edwin Martinez, Philip Tubola, 30, Nenita Tubolo, John Iron Tubola, Rowela Serilo, Baby Serilo, Felix Solinap, Candelaria Sinoro, Leticia Subong and Ponce Tubolo all of Brgy. Balibagan Oeste.

A total of 11 victims are confined at RTMDH while 3 are recuperating at the Iloilo Doctors Hospital.

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