At least 41 school children fell sick after eating fruits of Jatropha plants locally known as tuba-tuba in Dauis town, Bohol province on Friday.
“They said it tasted like chocolate and peanuts, so they decided to peel the fruits and ate them,” said pediatric ward nurse Abigail Mercader.
The pupils of Tutolan Elementary School were rushed for treatment at the Governor Celestino Gallares Hospital in nearby Tagbilaran City.
About 25 of the victims aged six to 10 years old were released yesterday.
The others were kept for observation due to fever and dizziness but are in stable condition, said the nurse.
The Jatropha plants were plentiful and hung on the school fence in Dauis, Panglao Island, said Senior Supt. Constantino Barot Jr., Bohol provincial police chief.
The students who came from Grades 1 to 4 ate the fruit during their lunch break.
Their school advisers were surprised to see their pupils complaining of stomach pain with some vomitting in class.
Barot said he ordered the Dauis police to coordinate with the school officials to remove the Jatropha plants and replace with kamunggay.
Jatropha is a small tree or shrub that normally grows between three and five meters high, according to the website http://www.jatrophabiodiesel.org.
Considered a “wonder plant,” the seeds of jatropha have an oil content of 37 percent and have been used in the manufacture of biodiesel fuel.
Pupils had already been warned against eating the fruits, which are poisonous. /Jhunnex Napallacan, Correspondent