REP. Rachel “Cutie” del Mar (Cebu City, north district) urged families who were left homeless by the fire that hit Barangay T. Padilla last Monday afternoon to avoid illegal power connections, for their own safety.

Sparks from a household wire were seen at the start of the fire that left 3,346 persons homeless in less than two hours. It was the biggest fire to hit Cebu City so far this year.

The first-term congresswoman visited the fire victims yesterday and extended over P1.3 million from her Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) as aid for the displaced families.

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“Naluoy gyud mi ug maayo ninyo unya palihug lang, dili na ta anang wiretapping. Tan-awa pila ka balay ang naangin tungod sa wiretapping? So akong hangyo ninyo, ayaw na pag-wiretap (We feel so sorry for you. Look how many houses were lost because of illegal connections. Please, I appeal to you, do not tap power illegally),” the congresswoman told fire victims at the Barangay T. Padilla sports complex.

About 800 families made up the first batch of recipients of the congresswoman’s aid. She gave P2,000 each to 216 homeowners and P1,000 for 204 out of 216 home renters.

Del Mar said she will distribute the second batch of the financial assistance next week.

The Cebu City Council recently placed T. Padilla under a state of calamity and approved the release of P15 million in calamity funds for the food, relief materials and construction materials for the fire victims.

The province also offered P5 million in financial assistance.

The fire that hit T. Padilla razed P8.5 million in properties and has provoked City Hall to promise that interior roads in the area will be widened, before the occupants can move back in.