Kamputhaw fire displaces 700: Losses at P1M; fate of families uncertain since UP Cebu owns lots

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio and Morexette Marie Erram December 05,2018 - 10:10 PM

KAMPUTHAW FIRE/DEC.05,2018:Firefighters continue to put out the fire that hit a residential area in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City.(CDN PHOTO/LITO TECSON)

At least 194 families of Sitio Purok 3 Riverside in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City, will spend their Christmas in evacuation sites.

Their misfortune came after they lost their homes and belongings to a fire that broke out in their area at 10:20 a.m. yesterday.

The fire raged for more than six hours as it destroyed 107 houses in the densely populated interior area.

Cebu City firefighters had to raise the fire alarm to Task Force Alpha to secure aid from neighboring fire stations in the cities of Mandaue and Talisay.

The fire was put out at 4:14 p.m. and displaced 700 persons who are housed at the Kamputhaw gym.

Cebu City Fire Marshall Noel Abapon pegged initial damages at P1 million.

He said the cause of the fire in Kamputhaw has yet to be identified.

Abapon said while the fire trucks easily surrounded the affected area, lack of interior access roads prevented firefighters from entering the site.

Kamputhaw Barangay Captain Jessica Cadungog said they will declare a state of calamity to secure funding from the Cebu City government.

She said their calamity fund is nearly depleted after it was used for the families who lost their homes also due to a fire last Aug. 4.

“I called for an emergency council meeting. Our calamity fund is running low because of the previous fire in Lower Kamputhaw before. We will need to ask for help from the city,” she said.

City Social Welfare Services chief Flora Bartolome said they are processing the financial aid for the families who will each receive P20,000 cash and relief packs.

For now the displaced families may have to stay at the Kamputhaw barangay evacuation center and at the open field of the University of the Philippines Cebu (UP Cebu) near the library for some time.

Genevieve Alcoseba, operations officer of the Division of Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP), said the lots where the burnt houses stood are owned by the school.

She said they will negotiate with UP Cebu officials to allow the settlers to rebuild their homes.

“We’re trying our best for fire victims to reconstruct their houses because we don’t want anyone to be displaced and left homeless after they struggled through a disaster. The city will try its best to negotiate with UP Cebu,” Alcoseba said.

Sought for UP Cebu’s comments, Chancellor Liza Corro told Cebu Daily News in a text message that they are waiting on the city government’s request for a meeting on this case.

“I will just wait for their request for a meeting. We will take it from there, in whatever will be our decision,” Corro said.

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