THE Christmas fire that swept through seven sitios in Barangay Duljo-Fatima was not only the biggest fire to hit Cebu City this year, but it was also the costliest.
In an approved resolution, dated Dec. 28, that declared the barangay under a state of calamity, City Councilor Alvin Arcilla said the fire affected 659 families, or 3,075 individuals. Damage estimates were placed at P117,963,000.
According to records of the Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS), the fire razed 388 houses.
Affected areas include Sitios Buli, Ponyang, Mansanitas, Catwalk, Plastikan, Pasong Kabayo and San Pedro.
Placing fire-hit areas under a state of calamity allows the local government to access calamity funds to help survivors.
The barangay council of Duljo-Fatima declared a state of calamity on Wednesday, Dec. 26.
Earlier, Duljo-Fatima Barangay Captain Elmer Abella said they had P685,000 in the calamity fund, which they would use to buy housing materials and meal packs for survivors.
The barangay would also extend P20,000 each to the families of the two casualties.
Meanwhile, City Councilor Dave Tumulak, head of the committee on public order and safety, belied allegations of politicking over the distribution of meal packs to survivors, saying he was at the barangay hall since day one.
“DSWS follows a procurement process and had three reasons why it wasn’t able to immediately distribute meals last Dec. 25. One, its staff went home for the holidays. Two, the supplier did not have enough supply. Three, the supplier also did not have enough personnel because it was a holiday,” he said.
City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office Chief Nagiel Bañacia said the meal packs could not be purchased beforehand since they would spoil. Also, the City Government follows a procurement process, he said.
“Our office is 24 hours a day ready to respond to any emergencies and disasters, but as to the food, we have to rely greatly on our suppliers as part of the procurement procedure. Let’s not politicize the tragedy, as this will only result in another tragedy for the fire survivors,” he said.
In the barangay, only 10 persons remained at the gym after the forced evacuation last Thursday in preparation for tropical depression Usman. RTF