KAMPUTHAW FIRE VIC: WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO ON CHRISTMAS DAY?
How are they supposed to celebrate Christmas?
This was the question raised by Mercy Zamora, 39, who was among the hundreds who lost their home when a large fire raced through Purok 3, Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City last Wednesday, Dec. 5.
“Naa ra man g’yod hinooy pagkaon, pero mga gamit g’yod intawn sa balay, wala mi nadala. Mga sinina, naa ra may daghan, pero mga kaldero, mga plato, mga kalan, balde—wala jud mi magamit diri (There is food, but we failed to save a lot of things for the house. We have many clothes but we don’t have pots, plates, pans, pails—we don’t have anything to use here),” she said.
Zamora said she is not even sure how her family would celebrate Christmas after the incident.
“Di pa namo ma imagine kung mag-unsa or asa mi ani. Nagplano unta mi (neighbors) nga magparty ginagmay. N’ya karon wala naman. Nagbuwag-buwag na mi (We cannot imagine what we will do or where we will go. The neighbors and I were planning to have a small party. But that plan is gone. We have since been separated),” said Zamora.
Joan Bisnar, 29, said her family needs housing materials in case they are allowed to rebuild their houses.
“Kuwang g’yod mga gamit g’yod sa balay para patukod balik sama sa mga sin or kahoy kay aron makabalhin na mi ba kay lisod baya sad g’yod diri (We don’t have materials to build a house like galvanized iron sheets or wood so that we can already transfer because it’s very difficult here),” said Bisnar, referring to the evacuation center.
Kamputhaw officials are asking the Cebu City Government to help them negotiate for the fire survivors to be able to return to their place and rebuild their homes.
The City is planning to reblock the area as well as widen the roads if the University of the Philippines (UP) Cebu allows the fire survivors to reconstruct their homes in the same site.
Kamputhaw Barangay Captain Jessica Cadungog said village officials are currently coordinating with the Division for the Welfare of the Urban Poor (DWUP) to lobby to UP officials to allow the displaced homeowners to rebuild their houses.
But DWUP’s community development worker Moian Briones said there is no scheduled meeting yet between DWUP and UP.
“We still don’t have a date for the meeting with UP because our focus for now is for the affected residents to be settled,” said Briones.
“If UP will not allow the victims to return, then we will ask the City Government for a relocation site,” said Cadungog.
Around 700 Kamputhaw residents appealed for help after a huge fire hit their residential area in Purok 3. The lot is owned by UP Cebu.
As of yesterday, the victims were given toiletries such as bath soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, and used clothing.
Barangay health workers and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) desk are also stationed in the barangay gymnasium, which houses around 180 families.
Cadungog said that the barangay is currently repacking the donated canned goods for the fire victims.
Based on the records of the DSWD, the fire burned 107 houses while leaving a Muslim mosque damaged.
When asked what they will do should UP not allow them to go back to the area, Lucino Omaña, 72, said he still has to figure it out.
“Ambot asa mi paingon kung di mi pabalikon (I don’t know where we will go if we will not be allowed to return),” said Omaña, who has been living in the area for 42 years.
Four months ago, a huge fire also hit the lower part of the barangay leaving around 235 families homeless. /