Mandaluyong earmarks P4.5 M for fire victims

- Non Alquitran -
The local government of Mandaluyong City has earmarked P4.5 million as financial assistance for 3,288 families affected by the fire that hit a densely populated Welfareville Compound on April 7. The assistance is aside from the P1 million released daily by Mandaluyong City Mayor Neptali Gonzales III for the meals of the 13,597 evacuees temporarily housed at four gymnasiums and schools of the city.

Milagros Lagaran, head of the local Department of Social Welfare and Development said Gonzales will hand over P3,000 assistance to 1,380 displaced homeowners. Those who are sharing houses with relatives and renters will receive, P2,000 per family, she said. Lagaran said the National Disaster Coordinating Council, (NDCC), DSWD National Capital Region (NCR), GMA Kapuso Foundation, Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), concerned citizens and business groups have donated foodstuffs, groceries, mats and blankets for the evacuees. "We have ample food and other supplies for the evacuees. So far, we received only minor complains from them," Lagaran told The Star.

According to Lagaran, they noted the outbreak of diseases like measles, colds and fever among children and adults in the evacuation centers but they were already taken cared of by the city health office.

"We contained the health problems by conducting massive immunization inside the evacuation centers," she added.

Superintendent Ericson Velasquez, Mandaluyong City police chief admitted it was not yet determined what caused the fire that leveled four hectares of houses at the squatters’ area of Welfareville Compound in Barangay Addition Hills.

The fire started at Block 39 by a lighted candle left unattended by the house occupants who were having a party nearby at 2:20 a.m. Velasquez said responding firemen had a hard time going near the fire scene because of narrow alleys or roads leading to the conflagration.

Lagaran said only those living in the façade of the compound were able to save their important personal belongings. As of yesterday, a total of 2,576 families or 8,707 individuals remained at evacuation centers at the city gymnasium, Mataas na Paaralan Neptali A. Gonzales, Jose Fabella Memorial High School gymnasium and the Nueve de Febrero Elementary School.

Lagaran said some of the affected families have started preparing for the re-construction of their homes. "Those who are renting houses are leaving the evacuation centers as soon as they receive their financial assistance from the city government," said Lagaran.

Velasquez also said the city government and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) have joined hands in cleaning up the area in anticipating for the rebuilding of homes for the victims.

President Arroyo has ordered the release of P25 million for the development of a housing project for the victims of the fire that hit Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City last Saturday. Vice President Noli de Castro said that the instruction of the President was made during his visit last Tuesday to the St. Luke’s Medical Center in Quezon City where First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo underwent a 10-hour open heart surgery.

De Castro said that the President wanted him to follow up the release of the funds which would help more than a thousand families who lost their homes during the fire.









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