BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The popcorn vendor was popping a fresh batch of corn as this reporter was approaching the burning houses yesterday, 31 August 2022, in Amor.
“Where do you live?” this reporter asked.
There, he said, as he threw his arm over his shoulder, the index finger extended.
He did not even glance back.
His house was in fire, he said, “but what more could I do?” he added as he kept on cooking.
Jeric Magallanes woke up early today, his first day as a 25-year-old.
His roasted pig, pasta and whatever dishes he had for his birthday yesterday, 31 August 2022, went up in flames.
So did his house.
There was no time to waste today, however.
Jeric had to buy shoes. He had to go to work.
At a local fastfood chain.
“We can’t do anything, it already happened,” Jeric says.
He even had a small feast, a jolly one under the conditions inside the Villamonte Covered Court where at least 109 evacuees now live.
“I will go to work later instead of staying here and be sad,” he tells DNX,
Old wirings may have caused the fire, arson prober John Stewart Mondido said as the investigation started today
The residents told Mondido they saw smoke which might have indicated the fire started inside the ceiling of Edwin Delacruz’s house that was over 50 years old.
It is believed the fire quickly spread from there.
Mondido, who is also the chief of the Investigation and Intelligence Unit of the local office of the Fire Bureau added that the investigation has yet to determine the cause of the fire
They expect the results to come out in 45 days.
He suggested that in areas, like Amor, electrical installations must be checked regularly.
The Department of Social Services and Development is currently interviewing residents and verifying their information to ensure that they will receive financial assistance, social worker and disasters focal person Wendy Castro said.
The residents might receive the following: P10,000 for totally damaged, P5,000 for partially damaged, and P3,000 for renters.
He added that the City Government and private organizations has provided food, clothes, and sleeping mats to aid the residents.
Rommel Flores, the village head of Villamonte, said that they immediately provided medical assistance since they have nurses available.
“We also prepared a kitchen for them to ensure that they have something to eat while they are staying here,” Flores said.