BARANGAY Looc in Mandaue City has been placed under a state of calamity following the fire incident in Sitio Paradise on Tuesday night, Nov. 22, 2022, that displaced more than 600 families.

Barangay Looc chief Allan Siazon told reporters Thursday, Nov. 24, that emergency funds in the barangay can now be used to purchase goods for the fire victims.

Siazon noted that the meals and goods provided by the City Social Welfare and Services (CSWS) would only last for three days or until Friday, Nov. 25.

Siazon said Sitio Paradise is the biggest among the 15 sitios in the barangay and is considered to be densely populated.

As of Thursday morning, CSWS reported that a total of 669 families or 2,737 individuals were affected by the fire incident.

Of the number, Siazon said 181 families were temporarily sheltered in the barangay’s gym and Cesar Cabahug Elementary School (CCES) in Looc. The other 488 families were also housed in the Mandaue City Central School (MCCC).

Siazon said they are planning to transfer all the affected residents to the Norkis Park.

Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes wants to clear the affected area and conduct a reblocking before residents can return to build their houses.

Cortes has said that they agreed with the City Council to allow the fire victims to temporarily return to the area while awaiting the housing project of the City Government.

Cortes, however, asked the cooperation of the fire victims for the fast validation of their identities as the City Government aims to give them the financial assistance within three days.

Classes suspended

In a related development, officials of MCCC and CCES have decided to suspend their classes after the school’s facilities were being used as temporary evacuation areas for the fire victims.

Louwela Guerrero, principal of MCCC, said that as of 7 p.m. Wednesday, a total of 2,010 individuals were housed at the school, wherein five families were accommodated in each of the schools’ 37 classrooms.

Guerrero said Mandaue City School Division superintendent Dr. Nimfa Bongo gave them the go signal to suspend their classes which will be lifted on Friday.

Bongo also gave the go signal to CCES’ principal to suspend their classes, Siazon told SunStar Cebu.

But if the City Government will ask for an extension of class suspension, Guerrero said they will practice distance learning in order to not hamper the learning of their students./ MKG