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Fire victims "hesitant" to accept aid from Guardo

CEBU, Philippines - Most of the fire victims in Barangay Tisa were reportedly hesitant to accept the food packs distributed yesterday by congressional aspirant Jonathan Guardo allegedly because of a “threat” from the city government.

In an interview with The FREEMAN, Guardo said most of the fire victims were hesitant to accept the food packs because the city allegedly threatened them that their names would be scrapped from the list of urban poor residents if they would accept assistance from the opposition.

The city also allegedly would not provide them with plywood and G.I. sheets to rebuild their houses.

“He tries to harass anybody who is trying to give assistance,” Guardo said referring to Mayor Tomas Osmeña.

Guardo distributed the food packs in sitio Tambisan, Barangay Tisa together with members of Kugi Uswag Sugbu (Kusug).

But city information officer Nagiel Bañacia belied Guardo’s allegations, saying the city never made any threats to the fire victims or anyone for that matter. He said it might be possible that the fire victims simply did not want to accept the food packs.

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“It is our duty to provide service to the public, especially those victims of calamity... probably the people really don’t want to accept the assistance from him, pugson diay kon dili modawat?” Bañacia said.

Bañacia said Guardo is just making an issue for him to gain publicity. He said the city will not glorify Guardo’s allegations.

Early on, Osmeña filed libel charges against Guardo and the editor-in-chief and reporter of another newspaper for publishing Guardo’s statement, which accused the city of trying to stop Guardo’s distribution of food to fire victims in Barangay Calamba.

At least 100 houses razed by fire that hit Barangay Tisa afternoon on February 23. Damage was estimated at P900,000. — Johanna T. Natavio/JMO (THE FREEMAN)

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