Rebuilding dreams: Permanent homes for Lapu fire victims

Rebuilding dreams: Permanent homes for Lapu fire victims
Photo from Junard Ahong FB page

THE Lapu-Lapu City Government has announced plans to construct five five-story residential buildings in Sitio Sta. Maria, Barangay Pusok to serve as permanent housing for the residents displaced by the fire that hit the area on Dec. 12, 2023.

Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan told the media at the Lapu-Lapu City Hall Tuesday, March 19, 2024, that he is currently negotiating with private lot owners in Sitio Sta Maria to convince them to donate at least 5,000 square meters of the lot area where the socialized housing will be built.

Chan hopes to obtain the lot owners’ approval soon so that the construction of socialized housing can begin this year.

He said the City Government has collaborated with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development to finance the housing project. Chan did not disclose the amount of the funding.

Chan also announced that the Lapu-Lapu City Council had amended the ordinance that imposed a moratorium on the construction of condominiums, subdivision residences, and socialized housing projects, to exempt the Sta. Maria socialized housing.


The fire that struck Sta. Maria a week before Christmas displaced roughly 1,400 families (7,870 individuals), according to the City’s Public Information Office.

But some of the affected residents have gone back to their provinces after receiving cash assistance, Mark Anthony Bautista, public information officer, told SunStar Cebu on Thursday, March 21.

Some residents used the P15,000 rental assistance for three months from the Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (LCDRRMO) to relocate to other places.

The City identified 561 affected homeowners at Sitio Sta. Maria.

It has continued to reblock the area to increase the distance between houses. This will limit the spread of future fires and provide a clear path for emergency responders.

Of the 561 households, only 460 will be allowed to return to the area and construct temporary houses while waiting for the socialized housing project.

“Ang ilang ipangtukod karon is only temporary shelter nila. (What they will build now is only their temporary shelter.) We don’t want them to be forever squatters; we want them to be forever nga sila nay tag-iya sa ilang gipuy-an (owners of where they live). That is the objective of the city,” said Chan.

Chan clarified that only one area will be given to each household, as some households have claimed multiple areas.

The remaining 101 homeowners will be relocated to a lot donated by General Milling Corp. behind the Felicity Island Hotel, still in Barangay Pusok.


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