Troops secure fire-hit areas

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Friday, April 11, 2014


MEMBERS of the Task Force Davao (TFD), Davao City Police Office (DCPO) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) were already deployed in the fire-affected areas to ensure the safety and security while the survey and delineation of spaces for road and drainage is ongoing.

Temporary shelters for the victims are also planned to be built during the delineation process, said Ret. Gen. Francisco J. Villaroman, chief of Public Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC).

Six days after the fire hit Barangays 23-C, 22-C and 21-C, Villaroman said at least two platoons from the TFD and DCPO provide 24/7 security and maintain peace and order in the areas.

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Aside from the personnel of TFD and DCPO, he said the Sta. Ana police station, headed by the Superintendent Caezar Cabuhat, also vowed to augment the security forces.

He also said additional security elements will also be deployed at the Magsaysay Park where some of affected residents are taking shelter.

Aside from securing the area, they will be monitoring crimes such as using and selling of illegal drugs, theft, robbery and the like, Villaroman also said.

The Task Force Isla Verde, created through Executive Order NO. 18, signed by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, already fenced off the areas razed by the fire to prevent residents and non-residents from entering while the team is conducting delineation.

Duterte chairs the Task Force Isla Verde, while Villaroman is the vice chair.

"Sa mga manggugulo, we give the authority to the barangay captains para sila na bahala sa kanila. Sila ang nakakaalam kung sino ang taga doon at hindi. Pati ang mga Imam sa lugar, nakausap na rin ni Col. (Yusop) Jimlani para tumulong," Villaroman said during the I-Speak Forum held at the City Council (Thursday morning).

Barangay 23-C chief Wating Usman said he already communicated with his constituents regarding the plan of the city.

"Naay uban wala miuyon pero gipasabot nato sa ilaha (There are those who disagree but we explain it to them)," Usman said.

Villaroman said security is the second priority that the Task Force considers for the fire victims, next to the basic commodities such as food, water, rest room, medicines, and the like.

He said the city cannot estimate how long the delineation in the area will take since they are still determining the extent of damage.

Temporary shelter

Villaroman also said that they are looking for areas in the city where the victims can temporarily stay.

"We are working on it. Hindi pwede sa mga paaralan sila mag stay kasi maaabutan sila ng opening of classes. We cannot promise you we can do it in two months," he said.

The victims stay in seven evacuation centers, mostly elementary schools located near the affected area.

Villaroman said the budget needed for the proposed temporary shelter is not part of the P45-million budget approved by the City Council on Tuesday.

"The P45 million was just an initial release. We expect the National Government to send in financial assistance and more non-government organizations to donate," he said.

Duterte on Thursday appealed to the affected residents to give way for the government to survey the area.

"Para man ni sa inyoha gihapon. Aron sunod simbako naay mahitabo usab, dili na ta mag lisud (This is for you. We are doing this so that next time, it would not be very difficult for us to enter the area)," Duterte said during the distribution of financial assistance to the affected residents in Barangay 23-C Mini Forest Thursday.

The City Council declared on Tuesday the areas engulfed by fire last week under state of calamity, allocating some P45-million budget as financial assistance to those affected.

The total damage of the fire that hit in the evening of April 4 was placed at P155,469,840, with a total of 2,235 houses destroyed and 44 partially damaged.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 11, 2014.

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