Cebu News

CH eyes re-blocking of fire-hit area

May B. Miasco/FPL - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City government is planning to re-block the area in Barangay Duljo-Fatima that was hit by a huge fire Sunday afternoon leaving at least 67 families homeless.

The re-blocking, however, was just an initial option that the city officials are looking at pending a consultation with the affected families.

“The point there if we will help the area not to be fire prone and disaster resilient, we need to establish a road network in the area not only considering that there is a fire, we will also consider planning for the whole property,” said lawyer Collin Rosell, chief of the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor.

Rosell together with the other concerned City Hall executives convened yesterday morning to address the needs and concerns of at least 290 individuals whose houses were affected by the fire.

The initial figure of the number of victims was provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Servi-ces, which has been facilitating the distribution of packed meals to the affected families that are temporarily housed at San Nicolas Elementary School.

Moreover, the city government also needs to communicate with the rightful owners of the property. Rosell said that based on their initial investigation, the property is owned by Hospicio de San José, a charity institution run by the Roman Catholic Church.

“Ato silang estoryahon tungod kay murag dugay naman na ang mga tawo dira namuyo. If you will come to think about this [plan,] you will also need the support of the owners of the property… As much as possible, we will have to coordinate with them,” said Rosell.

Consultation with the affected families was also seen as important, said Rosell. One of the concerns that needed to be discussed is the reconstruction of houses.

“Obviously, ang mga structures didto dili na lig-on, delikado kaayo na,” he said.

The structures will have to be assessed first by the Office of the Building Officials headed by City Engineer Jose Marie Poblete, who was also present during the meeting yesterday.

“For them to utilize it as their own dwelling units, there should be an assessment from the engineers of OBO for them to issue certification. They can also make an advice to the residents whether it’s safe to use,” said Rosell.

He added they will also wait for OBO’s evaluation whether the families can rebuild their houses or the city will have to clear the area from the fire debris.

Another issue that needs to be resolved is the accessibility of the road. According to Rosell, the area is situated at the center of the densely populated area. Fire trucks will have difficulty penetrating the interior part since there are no access roads.

“The access going to the fire-stricken area should be deliberated (to come up with a plan.) We need to set aside a space for road access. The property is so wide but it has been filled up with houses and (the problem is) fire trucks cannot enter,” he said.

He said the city has to come with an engineering plan before implementing a re-blocking.

“While we have this standard procedure that we observe, we still have to talk with the affected people. We have to jive all the intentions (such as) for safety,” Rosell said.

He said reconstructing better structures and re-blocking the entire property may serve as a long-term solution to protect the residents from any disaster and promote safety. (FREEMAN)












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