Tragedy struck the ongoing Davao Regional Athletic Association (DAVRAA) meet after a 12-year-old girl athlete from Davao Oriental died on Wednesday due to severe pneumonia.

Department of Education (DepEd)11 spokesperson Jenielito Atilloconfirmed the death of one Hadia P. Eronico, who plays volleyball for the DavaoOriental girls elementary team and a resident of Ilangay, Lupon, DavaoOriental. Eronico reportedly expired around 7:45 p.m. of January 30 atSouthern Philippines Medical Center (SPMC).

Atillo bared that the attending physician found a dengue viruson Eronico in her test but it was later on ruled out and the official medicalreport stated the cause of death as pneumonia.

“We are basing this on the final diagnosis of the doctorthat pneumonia is the one causing the death of our athlete,” said Atillo.

Delegation officials, according to Atillo, said Eronico was juststaying in their sleeping quarters the whole day and did not take any food.This statement corroborated with the report of Davao City Police Office (DCPO)in its investigation on January 30. Atillo said Eronico’s coach Joezel Mae Duro,23 – year old teacher, told her that at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Eronico refusedto eat her breakfast. Duro prodded Eronico to take even small amount of foodbut she reportedly had no appetite. Later, the coach noticed while the victimwas coughing she spat out blood prompting her to bring her to the clinic butduty nurse Stephen Castres decided to bring her to the hospital.

Atillo said that based on the information he gathered, Eronicoplayed during the first two days of competitions held inside the multipurposegymnasium of the University of the Philippines Mindanao Sports Complex.

A separate interview, however, clarified that Eronico has notbeen feeling well since the start of competitions and did not see action.

In another interview by Edge Davao in their billetingquarter at the Imelda Elementary School on Thursday, Duro, a 23-years oldteacher from Aliwagwag Elementary School, clarified that the sick athletewas sidelined since the first match as she was already showing  signs ofailment. She refused to reveal the official medical result of the deceasedin respect to the family.

Duro said she has noticed Eronico’s constant coughing from theday the Davao Oriental delegation arrived in Davao City last January 24.

Eronico, according to Duro, was fit to play based on the medicalscreening made a month prior to the competition.

Duro also claimed that Eronico was very active despite hercough, however, everyone got alarmed when blood was present on the latter’ssputum that was observed early Tuesday prompting them to bring the athlete tothe hospital.

Atillo, meanwhile, said the Department of Education (DepEd)Davao Oriental Division is capable of giving assistance to the bereaved family.He said the host city as well as the DepEd Region 11 will not be accountable ofthe tragic incident.

Atillo said there was no information on the victim’s conditionprior to the DAVRAA competitions. Athletes competing in the Deped-supervisedsports conclave are required to undergo medical examination and submit amedical certificate before being allowed to compete. Edge Davao is stillverifying records of Eronico submitted to Deped if she has a medicalcertificate.

Deped 11, said Atillo, is saddened by the incident prompting theregional office to conduct an investigation to know other information prior toEronico’s death. 

He also bared that City Health Office personnel are nowintensifying its inspection in every billeting schools to remind them about thesanitation in their area.

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