Fire Victims Need To Stay In Gym A Little Longer—Labella

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Medic Mike

Victims of the fire on Palma Street in Cebu City have to stay in the crowded barangay Tinago sports center a little longer.

Acting Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella said while City Hall has already cleared the fire scene of debris last Sunday, they still need to restore the three meter easement and reblock the area before fire victims can return to rebuild their homes.

With over 1,100 persons left homeless, evacuees in the Tinago gym still need help.

Alvin Santillana, head of the disaster office, said they need powdered milk for the children, used clothes, folding beds, beach towels that can double as blankets, and mats.

Santillana said donors should visit the place to assess for themselves what is needed.

“It’s not enough that they just go bringing donations. They should go to the area and verify how much they can give.”

He said they learned their lesson in the big Lorega fire when people would show up bringing goods that were not enough to be distributed fairly to other victims, which caused fights.

“They can always approach the city social welfare office or the social workers in the center and barangay,” he said.

The Cebu city government delivered packed meals for three days, which ended last night.

After that, “disaster kits” which in clude kitchen utensils were distributed on Sunday to the 278 affected families.

The lot occupied by the residents is owned by the national government, as verified by city lawyer Jade Ponce.

This means there is no problem ahead in allowing the displaced families to return to rebuil after reblocking.

The back portion of the fire site is the outlet of the Parian Cree which leads to the sea. The front portion is Palma Street.

“Okay ra man kaayo among sitwasyon diri karon. Naa ra miy pagkaon pero kailangan pa gyud mig tarong nga higdaanan kay bugnaw man ang sawg sa gym (Our situation here is okay. We have enough food but we still need proper sleeping mats since the floor of the gym is cold),” 61-year-old Irenea Arcipe said.

Arcipe slept on the cold floor with her widowed daughter and two grandchildren using carton sheets and mats.


They would have preferred to stay at the roadside where their burnt house is so they can keep an eye out on their belongings.

Last Friday, they stayed by the road to guard their belongings, ” Arcipe said.

Cebu City Fire Marshal Rogelio Bongabong Jr. said they are investigating reports that the fire started in the house of a certain Nora Villarin.

The Cebu City’s Social Welfare and Services (CSWS) said there were 128 families or 558 persons staying in the Tinago gym while the rest are staying in the San Roque gym.

The displaced families will each be given P10,000 financial assistance from the city.

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