Sitio Under the Bridge residents barred from rebuilding

CEBU. Some residents return to the fire-ravaged Sitio Under the Bridge to retrieve whatever they can still use.
CEBU. Some residents return to the fire-ravaged Sitio Under the Bridge to retrieve whatever they can still use.Photo by Honey I. Cotejo

LOOC Barangay Captain Raul Cabahug announced on Thursday, March 14, 2024, that the Mandaue City government will not allow the Sitio Under the Bridge residents to rebuild their homes in the fire-affected area.

More than 500 families were displaced by the fire that hit the sitio on Tuesday, March 12.

Cabahug said the City Government has decided to reblock and construct a temporary housing site to relocate the displaced fire victims.

Reblocking involves increasing the distance between houses to prevent the spread of fire and enable emergency responders to access the site.

The relocation site will still be in Barangay Looc. It will be beside the University of Cebu Lapu-Lapu Mandaue Campus (UCLM), along the road leading to Barangay Opao called Sitio Riverside.

Cabahug earlier said Sitio Under the Bridge is located on a nationally owned property in an area considered a danger zone.

“Aduna na ma’y panghitabo nga wala g’yud nato damha. Mao na nga atong ikuan nga di na sad ni sila mabalik, para di mausab ning maong panghitabo. Pung pa sa mayor nga mura ta’g sirang plaka puhon na sad magtukod under the bridge. Wala ta kahibaw unsay mahitabo,” said Cabahug.

(We did not anticipate this fire, which is why we need to ensure that those affected do not return to the area to prevent a similar incident from happening again. As Mayor Jonas Cortes described it, this situation will be like a broken record if we let them build again under the bridge. We cannot predict what will happen next.)

Barangay hall moving

Cabahug also announced the intention to relocate the Looc Barangay Hall.

He said this move is crucial due to the need to designate the area, including Sitio Under the Bridge, as a “no build zone.” These areas are designated as easement areas due to safety concerns and are not recommended for human habitation.

Temporary evacuations

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

The elementary school suspended classes temporarily to facilitate the evacuation of fire victims.

But Cabahug mentioned that they will have a coordination meeting on it to avoid disrupting the students’ classes for a long time.

The fire victims currently occupy all 26 classrooms of the school.


Cabahug is calling for food donations, particularly canned goods and instant noodles.

He said this is to help the fire victims save their financial assistance for rebuilding their homes.

Cabahug is also urging donations of bed sheets and mattresses, as most victims are sleeping on native hand-woven mats.

Juanito Cantero, Department of Social Welfare and Development Central Visayas (DSWD 7) assistant regional director, said they distributed 530 family food packs per family under the representation of Ako Bisaya Partylist Rep. Sonny Lagon through DSWD’s Assistance to Individuals In Crisis Situations (AICS) program on Thursday.

Each food pack contains six kilos of rice, five canned goods, five sardine cans, cereals and coffee, which would last three days, depending on the number of members per family.

He said the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas has already communicated with them about distributing a second batch of food packs.

According to Cantero, Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes informed him on Wednesday that he has already sought assistance from some senators through AICS.

On Thursday, the Mandaue City Social Welfare Services reported through its final validation that 515 families, or a total of 1,677 individuals, had been displaced by the fire that occurred on March 12.

Out of the 370 affected houses, only 13 were partially burned while the rest, 357, were completely burned, according to the report.

The victims included 370 house owners and 145 renters or sharers.

As a result of the fire, the barangay council of Looc declared a state of calamity during a special session on Wednesday.

The barangay will allocate approximately P600,000 from its quick response funds and tap into other barangay funds to provide food for the fire victims. / HIC


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