State of calamity declared to help 500 fire-hit Families

CEBU. Over 300 houses were razed by the fire that hit Barangay Looc in Mandaue City on Tuesday, March 12, 2024.
CEBU. Over 300 houses were razed by the fire that hit Barangay Looc in Mandaue City on Tuesday, March 12, 2024.Photo from Bantay Mandaue CDRRMO

BARANGAY Looc in Mandaue City has declared a state of calamity in response to a fire that destroyed an estimated 386 homes in Sitio Under the Bridge on Tuesday afternoon, March 12 and rendered more than 500 families homeless.

The barangay council passed a resolution during a special session at the Looc Barangay Hall on Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Now that Looc is in a state of calamity, the barangay can access its emergency funds to provide aid to the fire victims.

During the session, the council announced that it would allocate about P600,000 from the quick response fund (QRF) to provide relief assistance, specifically food, for the victims of the fire.

Barangay Captain Raul Cabahug of Looc said they may consider using funds from other barangay programs as an additional source of funding, as the allocated money may not be sufficient.

The Mandaue City Social Welfare Services (CSWS) provides food for fire victims for three days, after which the barangay takes over.

Cabahug said they still need to make budget projections for the next two weeks to determine if there are excess funds that can be used for a barangay-driven financial assistance program for the victims.

However, Cabahug assured that the City Government will provide financial assistance.

CSWS head Camilo Basaca said Tuesday that the City was preparing to distribute P10,000 in cash assistance to homeowners and P5,000 to renters.


According to Cabahug, the City has not yet discussed any plans for the affected area. But he said the area is nationally owned and is considered a danger zone.

Currently, the CSWS, Mandaue Housing and Urban Development Office (Hudo), Looc Barangay officials and the City Government are holding meetings to come up with a final plan for the area.

The victims of the fire are currently being sheltered at the Looc Gymnasium and the Cesar Cabahug Elementary School located beside the gym.

Currently, classes are suspended in the school due to 20 of its classrooms being used as temporary evacuation centers.

As of 11 p.m. Tuesday, the CSWS reported that 515 families, consisting of 1,745 individuals, had been affected by the fire. Among them, 386 are homeowners while 123 are renters.

The Bureau of Fire Protection in Mandaue City reported that the fire destroyed approximately 386 homes. However, this number may increase with the continued validation conducted by the CSWS.

Safe bridge

Following the fire, there have been concerns about the safety of the Mactan-Mandaue bridge, often referred to as the “first bridge.” However, Cabahug assured that the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) had already inspected the bridge.

The fire seemed to be concentrated in an area covering a section of the bridge’s pillars, as seen in some videos and pictures that have circulated on social media.

Cabahug said Tuesday that the DPWH temporarily closed the bridge to motorists but reopened it after conducting an assessment.

Arnel Abella, head of the Bureau of Fire Protection Mandaue Office, clarified on Wednesday, March 13, that the concentration of the fire on Tuesday was not near any of the bridge’s pillars.

Abella admitted that the narrow roads leading to the fire-affected zone, the area facing the open sea, and the strong winds made it difficult for them to immediately put out the fire on Tuesday.

He also said most of the affected houses were built with lightweight materials.

Cause of fire

Abella said they are still investigating the cause of the fire; however, they received reports indicating that it started on the second floor of a house owned by a resident named Elisita Dinauanao.

The investigation is being led by Senior Fire Inspector Leo Andicoy, who said they are considering various possibilities, including an electric short circuit that may have triggered the fire.

Andicoy said their team is actively interviewing witnesses and collecting samples from the affected area to send to a laboratory in Manila. Their goal is to determine the cause of the blaze as soon as possible.

Basic needs

Carla Niña Zipanta, a resident of Sitio Under the Bridge for almost 40 years, is seeking help in providing the community with basic necessities, such as toiletries like toothbrushes, bath soaps, clothes, bed sheets, pillows and other essential items.

Zipanta also hopes that someone could donate housing materials to enable the fire victims to rebuild their homes.

Other residents, Jose Milama and Jr Lanoy, narrated how they escaped the fire with their families and how it quickly spread from one house to another due to strong winds.

Some of the affected residents in Sitio Under the Bridge, Barangay Looc, Mandaue City, went back to their destroyed houses on Wednesday to retrieve some of their belongings and salvage any housing materials that could still be used to rebuild their homes. / HIC


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.