CH can’t order reblocking in fire-stricken Capitol Site

(The Freeman) - July 21, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City government cannot impose a reblocking in the area affected by fire Tuesday evening in Sitio Lower Ponce, Barangay Capitol Site because the lot is not owned by the city.

Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council head Nagiel Bañacia said the decision will depend on the fire victims themselves because they own the property.

Bañacia said he is yet to meet the fire victims to discuss the possibility of the reblocking scheme since it is needed in the area. The damage caused by the fire was estimated at P500,000.

Bañacia said the city government will give the victims the usual help they need like construction materials.

"The city will provide construction materials as usual. Paningkamotan nga ma-remit na karon or ugma basta immediately," he said.

Bañacia said Department of Social Welfare and Services head Lea Japson is still processing the P10,000 financial assistance that will be given to each of the fire victims.

He, however, explained that the financial assistance will have to wait until there is a formal declaration of calamity in the area.

DSWS is still validating the total number of home owners to finalize the list of those who will be getting assistance from the city.

"Nag-validate pami sa mga balay para ma-finalize na ilang kinahanglan like goods, disaster kit ug mga immediate needs unya ang financial assistance pud nga gi-process pa hangtod karon," said DSWS staff Cecille Pasay.

Capitol Site Councilor Epifania Ayag said the residents can rebuild their houses within the area because the property is owned by the victims themselves.

 Mayor Tomas Osmeña assured the fire victims that the city government will continue giving financial assistance.

Osmeña said he will also consider giving livelihood assistance to fire victims and those families affected in demolitions. The mayor said he will allow the affected families to sell in the night market in Colon and in Carbon Market.

Osmeña is also eyeing to distribute fire extinguishers to every sitio of the 80 barangays in the city government.

Osmeña said the city government will start procuring the fire extinguishers once he sees that homeowners association has been established and functional.

"We will find out if they (associations) are disciplined enough and we will leave a very big fire extinguisher there. So, if somebody's room starts to burn, they don't have to call the fire department. They only have to get the fire extinguisher," he said.

Osmeña believes that this program would cut down the number of fire incidents in the city.

He said he will form a special team of volunteers to inspect the condition of the fire extinguishers regularly to sustain its use.

He said the city already distributed P10 million worth of fire extinguishers before but it was not sustained by his predecessor.

Osmeña said the procurement of the fire extinguisher will be charged against the city's calamity funds and the city's disaster council will oversee the program. — Jean Marvette A. Demecillo and Jay Phobee C. Carlos (FREEMAN)

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