CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama has proposed a reblocking in response to the fire incidents that broke out in two barangays in Cebu City -- Basak Pardo and Carreta -- on Saturday night, January 6, 2024.
“I wish wala kalimti sa akong mga staff about the reblocking, importante kay na ang reblocking (I wish my staff have not forgotten reblocking, which is very important). My position is to reblock,” Rama said in a press conference on Monday, January 8, 2024.
Emphasizing the need of reblocking initiatives, Rama also said he has to check with the Quick Response Team (QRT) about the accessibility of fire extinguishers and the personnel they have trained to ensure that when such incidents occur, they can be better managed and contained.
“I want to check with Harold Alcontin (head of Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office) if the areas in Basak Pardo and Carreta were part of the training program,” Rama said.
He also emphasized the necessity of swift assistance in case of fire emergencies, saying that schools should serve as evacuation centers.
“If fire strikes, immediate financial assistance should be provided within a week to aid affected residents,” he said.
Rama also stressed the importance of strict building regulations, saying the absence of building and fencing permits could not be an excuse for preventing the reinstatement of damaged structures, especially considering the plight of the less fortunate.
“I have never been in a direction nga walay fence and building permits ipanghatag kay dili pwedeng ang sunog himuong rason nga dili kabalik, samot na og kaut-ot ang mga kabus,” Rama said.
Responding to concerns raised by Basak-Pardo’s Barangay Captain Dave Tumulak, who struggled to declare a state of calamity due to pending reports of the previous administration, Rama said action is needed to address the inefficiencies of past administrations.
“My position there is, do not make an incumbent barangay official suffer for the incompetent of the anomaly of the previous barangay official,” Rama said.
“Ayaw lisud-lisura (Don’t make it difficult),” he said, urging Cebu City Administrator Collin Rosell to take swift action.
The fires that hit in Barangays Basak Pardo and Carreta left around P9.75 million worth of property damage, and forced nearly 1,000 people out of their residences.
Information Officer Wendel Villanueva from the Cebu City Fire Office reported to SunStar Cebu that they first responded to a fire in Sitio Kalapukan in Carreta at 9:23 p.m.
Shortly after extinguishing the Carreta fire, another blaze broke out in Sitio Kanipaan, Barangay Basak Pardo at 11:33 p.m. (AML)