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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, April 26, 2013
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Banago seeking
state of calamity
BY SHEILA G. GELERA & CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

The Barangay Council of Brgy. Banago Bacolod City, passed a resolution Wednesday requesting the Bacolod Sangguniang Panlungsod to declared Banago under a state of calamity.

Two hundred six houses were hit by fire in two puroks of Brgy. Banago, Bacolod City on Wednesday, and not 234 as earlier reported, Chief Insp. Bartolome Beliran, Bacolod fire marshal corrected yesterday.

The damage from the blaze, Beliran said, has already reached P3.7 million, and this includes 97 destroyed and 109 damaged houses.

Bacolod Councilor Caesar Distirto said the SP will act on the request of the Banago Council to declare the barangay under a state of calamity in their next session so the barangay can use the 30 percent quick response fund from its 5 percent calamity fund.

Once the SP approves it the city government can also utilize its quick response fund from its calamity fund for Banago, he said.

Sally Abelarde, City Social Welfare and Development head, said that 168 families, 840 internally displaced persons as a whole, had sought shelter at the Domingo Lacson National High School yesterday.

Abelarde said that, as to financial assistance, they are still trying to calculate and verify the total number of families whose houses were destroyed or damaged by the fire.

She said several non-government organizations have dropped by DLNHS to offer help to the victims.

Jose Maria Vargas, head of the Bacolod City Risk Reduction Management Team, said they tried to verify yesterday the names of those who registered to avail of assistance from the government in order to determine if they are indeed, fire victims.

He said about 200 people tried to registered Wednesday evening claiming to be fire victims, but it was later found out that some were not residents of the barangay. They were also able to avail of the food brought by some city officials for the fire victims that night, he said.

Beliran said they received the fire call informing them that several houses in Brgy. Banago were on fire at about 12:08 p.m. but it took them more than an hour to put it out and declare it under control.

He said, the delayed response to the fire was caused by the narrow pathway and concrete fences, and that some residents tried to interfere with their work while trying to save their houses.

Initial investigation showed that the fire originated at the house of a certain Estella Barros in Zone 2, Purok Katilingban, who residents claim, is mentally unstable, and spread to the nearby houses.

In an interview by ABS-CBN, Unila Barros, cousin of the alleged owner of the house where the fire started, said that her cousin did not mean to burn the house, as her cousin, after seeing the fire, went to the roof and announced it to her neighbors.

Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia and Vice Mayor Jude Thaddeus Sayson and other city officials went to the fire scene to check the situation.

Leonardia said that because of the election ban, all donations for the fire victims will be coursed through the Philippine Red Cross, while the DSSD will be in charge of distributing food assistance to the affected families.

Meanwhile, Pamilya Magbinuligay Kita sa Kauswagan standard-bearer Monico Puentevella visited the fire victims of Purok Katilingban and Purok Kawayan in Brgy. Banago Wednesday, a press release from his office said.

It also said that Puentevella was attending a special mass for the late Bishop Antonio Fortich when he was advised about the fire, and went directly to Brgy. Banago but was held back by firefighters and some residents as the blaze was getting bigger, the press release said.*SGG/CGS

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