Cebu News

A year after San Roque fire: 64 families still in tents

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo, JMO - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - It has been a year since a fire razed their houses in Barangay San Roque, Cebu City but 64 families that survived are still living in tents and could not help but express dismay over the pace by which the city government is working to allow them to rebuild their homes.

“Dako kaayo og deperensiya nga magpuyo sa tinuod nga balay ug sa tent. Kun mag-init, grabe kaayo. Samot kun mag-uwan, mag-bukot mi og habol pero mura ra gihapon og wala. Hangyo lang gyod namo nga mapaspasan unta labi na nga usa na katuig ang milabay,” said Josefina Malabay, 62.

She blames politics for the delay.

“Sa among nahibaw-an gyod, nadugay gyod ning among pagpatukod tungod sa issue sa among kapitan before. Dili man fair gud. Ang dapat mahatagan wala, nahatagan hinuon ang dili unta,” she said.

The late San Roque Barangay Captain Liodore Miranda reportedly chose his own set of beneficiaries for lot allocation, which led some 30 families to complain. The families reportedly lived near the creek and on the road when the fire hit their houses, which was why they were not allocated with lots.

Luisa Gargar, 62, said her family lives in a tent with three other families.

“Lisod kaayo ang among pagkabutang. Samot na og mag-uwan, mosulod ang tubig sa among tent ug kun init pod gani, grabe pod kaayo mo-alingasaw ang init,” she said.

“Hangyo lang gyod nga mobalik na sa among gipuy-an. Hangyo pod namo nga mapaspasan ang among pagpatukod kay pait gyod kaayo kon pirming ingon ini,” she added.

All other families in the area thought the city’s Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor would re-assess their status but DWUP chief Collin Rosell said the city will not.

Rosell admitted that the delay of the implementation of the rebuilding of the houses was caused by the “controversies” faced by the late barangay captain.

Rosell said 72 families, including the 64 in tents, will each have 12 square meters of lot where they can rebuild their houses. The city government will provide the skeleton and roof of the houses, as well as housing materials based on the design of the houses.

He said rebuilding may start next week after the city clarifies some issues with the families affected.

Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella who called for a dialogue with DWUP and barangay officials, as well as with the families, said everyone agreed to hasten the process.

Labella said he initiated the dialogue when he passed by the area last week and saw the condition of the fire survivors.

“I was there during the heavy downpour and I was teary-eyed seeing the children and the elderly got soaked in the rain. I asked myself, what took so long?” he said.

The current barangay captain, Cyrus Lindog, said no other barangay official facilitated the project when Miranda was still alive.

“Siya ra gyod ang mipalakaw ana. Among nahibaw-an duna ganiy lista si kap Miranda sa mga beneficiaries nga lain sa DWUP. Maong karon, maluoy man mi sa mga tao, among tabangan nga mapadali gyod ni kay dunay mga walo na nga namatay diha tungod sa heat stroke,” Lindog said.

He assured that the barangay will reconcile the list of beneficiaries with DWUP to avoid further complications.  (FREEMAN)

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