Man blamed for ‘starting’ fire in Brgy. Gun-ob still at large
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - July 17, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — The man allegedly responsible for the weekend fire in Barangay Gun-ob, Lapu-Lapu City that rendered close to a thousand individuals homeless is still at large.

Mayor Junard Chan told reporters yesterday that authorities are still on the hunt for the man, an alleged drug addict, who had set on fire the house of a neighbor he allegedly had an argument with.

“Ang among nadawat nga report nga kaning tawhana naa ni kaaway. Unya iyang gibubu-an og gasolina ang balay sa iyang kontra, unya giduslitan. (We received report that this person had an enemy so he used gasoline to set his enemy’s house on fire.) This guy is reportedly also a drug addict,” Chan said at the evacuation center yesterday.

Chan said he has ordered the police to arrest the suspect so proper charges could be filed against him.

The fire that hit the barangay last Saturday left 220 families or 927 individuals homeless. Fire officials have estimated the cost of damaged properties at P500,000.

Meanwhile, Senator Bong Go visited the fire victims yesterday and promised them aid, tagging along with him actors Robin Padilla and Philip Salvador.

The trio performed an OPM song titled “Maging Sino Ka Man” to entertain the crowd.

In a short message, Go promised to give P2,000 in cash to all affected families, as well as grocery items and food packs.

Go also gave shoes to some residents and promised to give school supplies and school uniforms to the school children.

In jest, the senator also said he was willing to be the godfather to the expected babies of all pregnant mothers affected by the blaze.

For his part, Chan said that the city government is fast-tracking the release of financial assistance for the house owners and renters as he emphasized the immediate need for housing materials.

The mayor said that the city has started to reblock the area so that the fire victims can “temporarily” build their homes. The lot is privately-owned.

“Temporary lang sa gyud ang pagpatukod sa ilang mga balay kay ang yuta is owned by at least three owners. So far, wala may communication ang mga claimants nga di na nila pabalikon ang mga fire victims,” Chan said.

Chan, however, said that not all fire victims can go back to the area, especially the renters and those individuals engaged in the business of constructing houses for renting.

“Kadtong nga tag-iya sa balay nga giparentahan lang ang ilang balay kay gihimong negosyo, di na to sila makabalik,” he said.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) also distributed assistance to the fire victims yesterday. (FREEMAN)

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