THE more than 170 survivors of the fire that struck Sitio Panagdait in Barangay Kasambagan, Cebu City last Sunday afternoon, Jan. 26, 2020, will receive cash assistance from the City Government.
The Department of Social Welfare Services (DSWS) will provide P20,000 to homeowners and P10,000 to renters.
Mayor Edgardo Labella also coordinated with the National Housing Authority to provide survivors with housing materials and P30,000 in cash assistance per household.
DSWS officer-in-charge Jeffrey Ibones said survivors will receive three free meals from the City for three days. After that, the DSWS will distribute rice and canned goods, he said.
Kasambagan Barangay Captain and Association of Barangay Councils President Franklyn Ong also provided affected residents with sleeping mats.
The fire destroyed 62 houses. It also claimed the life of 49-year-old Leo Armamento, whose charred remains were found inside a cage. His relatives had locked him inside since he was reportedly mentally unstable.
City Councilor Dave Tumulak urged the public to be vigilant against suspicious-looking persons or persons acting strangely, especially neighbors who are known to be drug users.
The fire was allegedly started by a resident, Guillermo Canabe Jr.
Guillermo, who was arrested last Sunday, was charged with arson by the Bureau of Fire Protection on Monday, Jan. 27.
The Mabolo Police Station also charged Guillermo with homicide for Armamento’s death and with illegal drug use after he admitted that he and his younger brother inhaled shabu before the incident.
BFP investigator FO2 Emerson Arceo said several witnesses saw Guillermo set fire to his family’s house.
When questioned, the suspect also admitted to the crime, saying he used a lighter to set their house ablaze because he was high on illegal drugs, said Arceo.
Canabe’s father Guillermo Sr. and his mother left Panagdait after the incident.
Fire investigators estimated the damage to property at around P500,000.
The City has been providing the city’s 80 barangays with fire trucks, which it charged to Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. funds.
In December 2019, the first batch of fire trucks was turned over to Barangays Mambaling, Kinasang-an, Punta Princesa and Bulacao.
Three new fire trucks are set to be turned over to Barangays Duljo Fatima, Calamba and San Jose. (JJL, BBT / KAL)