Cebu News

After narrow roads hampered firemen: Re-blocking set for Lahug sitio

Jean Marvette A. Demecillo - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - Following the fire that razed 81 houses in Sitio Avocado, Barangay Lahug, the Cebu City government will pursue re-blocking in the area as firefighters had difficulty reaching the affected area due to narrow roads.

This was the statement of acting Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella yesterday as he cited the administration’s ideal that “nobody should be dislocated by the reason of fire.”

“The clearing operation will start tomorrow (today). We targeted to finish the clearing operation tomorrow so that the city’s Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor can start the re-blocking process,” he told reporters yesterday.

He said the re-blocking scheme will prevent any future fire from spreading to other re-blocked areas.

He said the initial report revealed that the owner of the fire-stricken area is the University of the Philippines. When asked if the city will ask permission from the owner, Labella said the residents have been there for several years already.

“The residents have been there. Just take that statement; nobody should be dislocated by the reason of fire. If there is any legal question, then that matter should be threshed out in the court of law. But, as of now, nobody should be dislocated by the reason of fire,” he said, adding that the city will continue the re-blocking.

He visited the fire victims, who are now occupying 17 classrooms of the Lahug Elementary School, and told them that they should not stop the city government from re-blocking the area as it would help prevent the same incident in the future and provide interior roads into the area.

He said he is also mulling additional assistance to the 187 families or 737 individuals left homeless as the New Year celebration is just around the corner.

“That (additional assistance) is one that we are seriously considering. We will be meeting tomorrow with the city treasurer and all department heads because it is one way to mitigate the suffering of the victims,” he said.

Labella said the additional assistance, on top of the P10,000 financial assistance from the city government, will be given if it is “legally feasible,” adding that there is still enough disaster funds for this.

A depressing New Year

With a heavy heart, Nesan Briol, 31, accepted the fate of her family that they will be welcoming the New Year without a home. However, she said will be happy as long as her family is intact.

“Maka-depress huna-hunaon ang panghitabo labi na mag-New Year pero dili naman nato mabalik. Ang mas maayo lang kay naa gyud akong pamilya. Walay nakalas nga kinabuhi. Makapalit raman ta og butang, pero dili gyud ta makapalit og anak. Kon unsay naa sa para New Year, amo lang gyung i-share sa among pamilya ra pud,” she said.

She said she was only able to save the family’s television, rice cooker, electric fan and some clothes.

“Ang akong kalagutan kay wala gyud mi-siren ang sa lahug nga fire truck kay at least man lang makahibaw mi sa sunog. Pero wala man daw tubig ang fire truck kay mirespondi sa sunog sa Escario atong adlawa pud,” she said.


The incident was blamed on a candle.

“During investigation, it was learned that there was no electrical connection on the house of origin owned by Rosemarie Villarin and they were using candle to light the place. Rosemarie Villarin and other members of the family will be invited at the office of the Investigation and Intelligence Section of Cebu City fire Station to shed light on this particular incident,” read the report prepared by Fire Officer 2 Nielson Daculan, the fire and arson investigator.

The fire allegedly started in Villarin’s room after she placed a candle on top of the plastic box and left it to go downstairs to attend to her grandchild.

With this, Labella urged Cebuanos to be extra vigilant in using candles and firecrackers during this season.

Senior Fire Officer 4 Jovito Abelgas of the Cebu City Fire Department rejected reports that the Lahug fire truck was not refilled after responding to a minor fire in Barangay Kamputhaw.

“Ang mga firefighters, nagtan-aw og balita sa taas sa barangay hall. Pag syinagitay, nakakita na sila sa bintana nga naklaro ang kayo. Maong nidiritso og naog sila para moresponde. Kanang truck, dili mana ingon nga inig pa-andar nimo modiritso dayon, pundohan paman na siya og hangin. Gusto man gud sa aning mga tao nga inig tawag sa telepono, naa na dayon ang fire truck,” he said.

“While nagpundo og hangin, nanawag na og fire truck daan. Magamay o madako ang sunog, kon dunay fire alarm, respond gyud tanan,” he said, adding that the fire spread quickly since the houses nearby were made of light materials and they had difficulty penetrating the area because of narrow roads.

Meanwhile, the city government will be providing three-day meal for the fire victims. If there is a compelling need to extend the food provision, Labella said the city will do it.

He said the Metropolitan Cebu Water District will provide one-month supply of free potable water for the fire victims. The city also installed a command post of the Quick Response Team and the Cebu City Police Office provided security personnel for the school.

Suspended mayor Michael Rama showed up at the fire scene. In a press conference yesterday, he said he has been a “responder and a volunteer” ever since he was a public servant.

“I am proud that my vice mayor who is now the acting mayor have taken upon himself the direction of bringing all including me, as suspended mayor, and as civilian to be part of the whole activities that will have to be initiated and to respond to the adversities,” Rama said.

“I am commending the acting mayor. I went to the site last night, I was told he was there, very much ahead of everyone else,” he said, adding that he is hoping that the City Council could help by declaration the barangay under state of calamity so that the city can use calamity funds to help the fire victims.

A sacrificed dinner

After the fire was placed under control on Saturday night, Cebu Auxiliary Bishop Dennis Villarojo, who is also the team moderator of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish in Barangay Capitol Site, made rounds to help the affected individuals.

Edna Mae Arellano of the Commission on Youth said Villarojo cancelled the parish Christmas party as soon as he heard the news. All the food prepared by the different mandated organizations of the parish were donated to the affected families.

As soon as the fire was under control Villarojo silently made rounds of the affected individuals comforting them and giving them food but asked Arellano not to photograph him. — with Bryner L. Diaz/BRP



vuukle comment












  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with