OFFICIALS of Barangay Mambaling in Cebu City appealed for food, water, sleeping mats and other forms of assistance for the 700 families who were displaced by a fire on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021.

This, as Mayor Michael Rama asked city councilors to hold a special session today, Nov. 28, so they can pass a resolution placing Mambaling under a state of calamity.

Doing so would allow City Hall to tap the calamity funds to help the fire victims.

“I want the cash assistance to be prepared for the fire victims in three days. I was also telling Councilor Raymond Garcia that we should have a session tomorrow to declare calamity within the day. Why wait for Monday?” Rama said, suggesting that the council hold the special session online.

The fire in Sitio Lawis in Mambaling destroyed 641 houses and left 700 families or 3,107 individuals homeless.

In an interview with reporters, Mambaling Barangay Captain Gines Abellana said the fire victims who are staying at the Mambaling Elementary School need help.

“First, our fire victims need cots to sleep on and places where they can stay. As of now, we provided only foam for them to sleep on. They also need food and water and a toilet,” he said.

The families also need blankets, pillows, mats, mosquito nets and pieces of wood that they can use for rebuilding their houses.

For those who want to donate, Abellana said the donations can be delivered to the barangay hall where they will be sorted to be sure that all families would receive aid.

Most of the residents of Sitio Lawis only had the clothes on their back when they fled their burning houses late Friday afternoon.

The Cebu City Fire Department earlier said the Mambaling fire was an arson case based on the account of witnesses.

Fire Officer 2 Fulbert Navarro said they are preparing to file an arson complaint against a certain Rolly Siso, who allegedly set a curtain on fire with a lighter.

Siso was arrested and is now in the hospital after he was shot and mauled by unidentified persons as he was leaving the fire scene. (CAL / BBT)