BONTOC, Mountain Province – Some one hundred nine households were displaced while millions worth of properties were torched into ashes during a 5-hour fire that burned dozens of structures in barangay Loc-ong early Wednesday morning.
The displaced households were composed of some 214 individuals occupying 22 totally burned and 11 partially burned structures within the heart of the capital town.
Further, 9 motor vehicles and motorcycles owned by the affected families were also burned during the incident with still undisclosed origin.
Residents and personnel of various government agencies and local governments and the private sector joined hands in the initial clearing operations in the area that was affected by the fire to pave the way for the put up of temporary shelters for the displaced families.
Moreover, donations from individuals, local governments, contractors among others started to pour into the local government where the latest amount received was pegged at more than P1.4 million.
Mayor Jerome Tudlong, Jr. continues to appeal to kind-hearted individuals to donate usable items that will be given to the affected families as part of the efforts for them to be able to recover from the tragic incident that transpired in the municipality.
The affected families were initially given family food packs from the municipal and provincial governments aside from those that were distributed by the cordillera office of the Department of Social welfare and Development (DSWD-CAR) .
At present, the fire victims are now the subject of validation by the social welfare and development personnel of the local government for them to ascertain their qualification to avail of the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICs) and other forms of assistance that could be extended by local governments and various government agencies.
On the other hand, arson investigators are still conducting an in-depth investigation to be able to pinpoint the origin of the fire that struck the town’s central business district area during the wee hours of the morning.
Firefighters from the nearby towns of Sadanga, Sabangan, Sagada, Bauko and Tadian joined forces to put off the blaze with the assistance of residents and volunteers but it took them some time to do so because of the extent of the fire that razed their structures in the area.
Most of the fire victims were able to be accommodated by their relatives and friends while some of them went home to their respective municipalities inside and outside the province while efforts are underway to rebuild their structures in the burned area.
Mayor Tudlong expressed the gratitude of the people and officialdom of the municipal government to all those who helped in containing the fire and conducting the needed clearing operations as well as those who provided donations to allow the affected families to recover from the said incident.
Donations that are coursed through the local government will be duly received to ensure transparency in the allocation of the same to the fire affected victims and the ongoing efforts to clear the burned area from the debris that were left by the fire.