Did water salute for Labella cause delays in Mambaling fire response?
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City South District Representative Rodrigo “Bebot” Abellanosa drew flak on social media after he blamed the conduct of a water salute for the late mayor Edgardo Labella for the “delayed response” to the fire that happened in Sitio Lawis, Barangay Mambaling on Friday.
“Dakong sunog karon sa Mambaling. Daghang firetrucks wala ka responde kay gigamit sa mga routa sa funeral procession ni Mayor Edgar Labella, nahutdan ug tubig kay gigamit sa water salute pag-agi sa patay nga lawas,” Abellano wrote on his Facebook page.
His post did not sit well on netizens who called him out for being insensitive.
“Let Mayor Labella rest in peace..patay na ayaw himu.e ug issue,” a netizen wrote as comment to his post.
Abellanosa later on clarified that he did not mean to disrespect the late mayor.
“Ang atong gi question dinhi ang organizer – sa dakong sayop sa pag gamit sa mga firetrucks sa maong okasyon, labi na nga naatol sa pagbuto sa sunog sulod sa akong distrito.”
“The readiness to respond to emergency has been hampered. It is unlawful to use public emergency facilities like firetrucks for purposes other than saving lives and properties. Responsible city government officials should not have allowed this in the first place,” he wrote.
Councilor David Tumulak, chairperson of the City Council’s disaster risk reduction and management committee, disagreed with Abeallanosa.
He said the funeral procession and the water salute to honor Labella did not, in any way, affect the city’s disaster response.
Tumulak said most of the fire trucks that were used for the water salute did not even leave the fire stations that were located along the route of the funeral procession.
Also, the funeral procession left the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral at 1 p.m. and arrived at the Golden Haven Memorial Park in Barangay Binaliw at 4 p.m. or an hour before the fire in Sitio Lawis broke at 5:06 p.m.
Tumulak also denied claims that delayed response caused the fire to spread and burn more homes in this thickly populated urban poor community.
“Nikusog ang kayo kay ang location, sigkit man gyod kaayo pud. Naglisod og sulod ang bombero,” he said.
Tumulak said the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) deployed at least 17 fire trucks to the fire scene. About 37 barangay firetrucks also arrived to help.
Also, Tumulak said, a contingency plan was set in place in case of an emergency while Labella’s funeral procession was still ongoing.
“Dili gyod na tinood nga tungod sa lubong wala nakarespondi. Nakrespondi tag tarong,” he said.
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