DepEd launches probe after dozens of students fall ill in Cabuyao fire drill

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 24) — The Department of Education (DepEd) has launched an inquiry on the surprise fire drill at a high school in Cabuyao City, where 83 students were hospitalized after showing signs of dehydration and heat exhaustion.

"We want to get the details of what transpired and make improvements para maiwasan yung (to avoid) incidents similar to what transpired yesterday [in] Cabuyao," DepEd spokesperson Michael Poa said in a briefing.

According to the city government's statement, 2,121 students from grades 8 to 12 of Gulod National High School-Mamatid Extension participated in the earthquake and fire drill Thursday afternoon.

Before the headcount was completed, the school's head allowed the students to return to their classrooms as many have started complaining about the heat and of difficulty breathing.

As of writing, only four out remained in hospitals while the rest were already sent home.

"To ensure that all learners are given time to rest and recover, classes were suspended for today. The DRRM team is also set to conduct psychological first-aid sessions in the school," the statement read.

DepEd said it is coordinating with local officials to provide financial assistance to the victims by shouldering their medical expenses.