LAPU-LAPU City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan ordered the reblocking of two areas hit by separate fire incidents over the weekend, as he asked the police to locate the man suspected of starting the fire in Purok Ube in Barangay Gun-ob.
Chan said the reblocking of Purok Ube and Sitio Bato in Barangay Mactan should be fast-tracked since the City does not have a relocation site for the families yet. Also, he wants to see what areas the families can rebuild on since a portion of the lot is privately owned.
He said, though, those who opened their rooms or houses for rent will no longer be allowed to return to the fire site.
Those who can rebuild will also do so on a smaller lot area since parts of the fire site will be converted into roads.
“While there is no relocation site for the families yet, we will let them occupy the lots where their house used to stand. But we have to reblock it first because what happened was the firefighters had difficulty putting out the fire due to the absence of access roads going to the interior areas,” the mayor said in an interview on Monday, July 15, 2019.
To address the problem, Chan asked to take down a portion of the concrete fence of Hoopsdome to allow firefighters and other emergency responders to penetrate the area when the need arises.
“While the fire was raging, the firefighters bore a hole on the fence so their hose could reach the houses. So I told them to just put a door or gate there that can be used as access in times of emergencies,” Chan said.
At the fire site on Monday, more Purok Ube witnesses surfaced and blamed one of their neighbors for setting the house of Juanito Vaflor on fire, prompting the mayor to ask the police and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to investigate.
Chan did not discount the possibility that the fire late Saturday night was a case of arson.
“I ordered the PNP (Philippine National Police) during the meeting yesterday. PNP is coordinating with BFP so they can locate and arrest this person who is said to have started the fire,” Chan said in Cebuano on Monday.
For his part, the Lapu-Lapu City Fire Station chief, Fire Supt. Crispulo Eusebio Jr., said they are conducting a deeper investigation since the witnesses’ allegations are mere hearsay for now.
Editha Ochea, a resident, said the man had an argument with Vaflor’s daughter-in-law reportedly because of a joke that didn’t sit well with him.
“Sa gamay rang hinungdan, giangin na niya ang tanan. Mutuo gyud ko nga siya ato naghimo kay ngil-ad man sad nang bataa gud. Duha na man gani to ka adlaw nga wa kunoy tulog kay mugamit man sad (For such a petty reason, he let everybody here suffer. I believe it was him. He’s an evil person. We learned he hasn’t slept in two days because of his drug use),” she said.
The fire in Purok Ube in Gun-ob left some 350 families homeless while the fire in Sitio Bato in Mactan affected 60 families.
Homeowners are expected to receive P10,000 in financial aid from the City while those who were renting the houses they occupied will get P5,000 per family.
Aside from food and water, the families hope to receive hygiene kits, cooking supplies and sleeping mats from donors. (from ANV of SuperBalita Cebu/LRC)