cdn mobile


By: Nestle Semilla, Norman V. Mendoza, Victor Anthony V. Silva February 22,2016 - 10:35 PM

BASAK MANDAUE FIRE/FEB. 22, 2016: A fire victims try to look for some usefull belongings as they returns to their burned houses at sitio Alliance barangay Basak Mandaue City.(CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Fire victims search for usable items from what remained of their homes that they lost to a fire in Sitio Alliance of Two Hearts in Barangay Basak, Mandaue City. (CDN PHOTO/JUNJIE MENDOZA

Juliana Cabatingan cried as she watched her house went up in flames. She held tight to a figurine of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the crucifix of Jesus Christ.

She said she panicked and thought only of saving the figurine and the crucifix when she arrived and saw that a huge fire has eaten most of her neighbors’ houses in

Sitio Alliance of Two Hearts, Barangay Basak, Mandaue City, and was closing in on her brother’s house where she lived.

Except for a few clothes and some appliances, such as a television set and a portable radio, Cabatingan did not get to save their belongings before the fire destroyed their two-story house.

Cabatingan, 53,  is now among the some 400 individuals from at least 86 families who lost homes and possessions to the 30-minute fire that razed houses made of light materials built  on a property said to be mostly owned by the family of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes.

Just days earlier, on Friday, a fire in another area in Basak, Sitio Riles, also left seven families homeless.

Yesterday’s big fire was the second to hit Metro Cebu this year, happening just over month since a fire that hit Quiot, Pardo in Cebu City on Jan. 13 destroyed 150 houses.

Cabatingan is now housed in one of the ten tents set up by the Mandaue City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) on the fire site. Each tent can accommodate up to three families.

“Since they don’t want to be evacuated somewhere else, we provided tents instead. Some of them wanted to immediately go back to their area, but we stopped them for safety reasons,” CDRRMO head Felix Suico Jr. said.

He said they hoped to clear the area of debris within a week, after which the fire victims can begin to rebuild their houses.

The city government, through the Bantay Mandaue, also provided four portable toilets, installed temporary lighting facility and set up an assistance command center in the area. The city police also installed its own assistance center there, he added.

Basak Barangay Captain Felipe Diano said the barangay council sent a medical team to the site to give first aid to injured fire victims.

Among them were three family members bitten by their own pet dog at the height of the fire.

One of the victims, Baby Jane Ermac, 25,  said she was rushing to her mother’s home just a few meters away from her own with her 3-year-old daughter in her arm when her mother’s dog bit her in the leg. She later learned that her daughter, Josephine Grace, was also bitten by the dog in the arm while her mother, Fabellanosa Pareja, 75, was bitten in the leg.

The three were given first aid by the barangay’s medical team. The city veterinarian’s office was asked to take the dog for observation, a necessary step needed to treat victims of possible rabid dog bites.

Another person, a Macky Mañacap, was treated for a cut on his foot after he accidentally stepped on a broken bottle as he was running away from the fire, said Diano.

An unidentified man was, meanwhile, mauled by residents in the area after he was caught stealing from a fire victim. He was later able to run away and evaded police arrest, Diano said.

Diano said he convened the barangay council last night for a special session in order to declare Sitio Alliance of Two Hearts under a state of calamity and allow the village aldermen to immediately seek assistance from the city government.

He said victims can also rebuild on the same site since some are themselves the landowners. The Cortes family also has no objection to the victims rebuilding houses in the lots they occupied, he added.

But for Cabatingan, getting back on her feet is going to be tough.

Cabatingan has no home of her own and was living with the family of her brother.  She works as a house cleaner and it was only her nephew Antonio Cabatingan, a security guard in his mid-20s, who had just gotten off duty,  who was in the house, sleeping, when the fire broke at around 10 a.m. yesterday.

The fire spread fast as strong winds fanned the flames, according to F02 Antonio Montajes of the Mandaue City Fire Station.

The fire was said to have started in a house owned by a Conchita Juntilla after a fire lighted for cooking was left unattended, Montajes said.

Juntilla’s shanty did not have electricity, based on the accounts of neighbors.  She also could no longer be located in the area following the fire, Montajes said.

Montajes said they received the fire alarm at 10:25 a.m.  and immediately raised it to Task Force Alpha, which means that other fire stations nearby would also need to respond. The fire was put out at 11 a.m.

“Naglisud gyud mi sa pagsulod dinhi sa fire site kay dili gyud makasulod ang fire truck. Duna’y gamay nga kaagian didto sa likod pero adto pud agi-on sa Barangay Labogon,” he said.  (We found it difficult to get into the fire site as the fire truck don’t have access. There was also a small access at the back but it can only be reached through Barangay Labogon.)

He said some fire trucks went through the narrow roads at Palm Hills Subdivision that adjoins the sitio. But since they could not get close to the scene of the fire, firefighters decided to join the water hoses to form a hose relay so they could pump water into the flaming houses.

Diano said they have long raised to the city government the request of the sitio’s residents for an access road, but it has been put off due to the difficulty of acquiring the lot needed to build the road.

He hoped that this time they will get the city’s attention and will give this area an access road as it has been surrounded by a subdivision, private lots and mangrove area at the back.

At the Capitol, the Cebu Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) immediately readied  aid for the fire victims by pre-positioning relief packs that each contained a metal pot, a mat, blanket, mosquito net, towel, three plates, three tumblers, six kilos of rice, four assorted canned goods, and 20 pieces of 500 ml bottled water.

Myra Tansingco, who heads the disasters response section of PSWDO, said, however, that before they could release the relief assistance, the MCSWS must send a final list of affected families to the PSWDO.

“This is necessary so the exact number of sets will be given to those affected and there will be no duplication,” she said.
The relief packs were currently stored at the Cebu International Convention Center (CICC), which happens to be in Mandaue City.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Read Next

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

TAGS: barangay Basak, Blessed Virgin Mary, Jesus Christ, Mandaue City

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.