About 20 of the fire victims in Purok Kabukiran, Brgy.Taculing, Bacolod City have pre-qualified for relocation.
Faith Joy Lumauag, officer-in-charge of the Bacolod Housing Authority, however, said that because of the fire, the number of families who need to be relocated has increased.
Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia said 35 families, or 131 individuals, were affected by the fire that destroyed 21 houses and damaged nine others Sunday.
Leonardia said that when he returned as mayor, he increased the financial assistance to fire victims whose houses were destroyed, from P5,000 to P10,000 and for those whose houses were damaged from P3,000 to P5,000.
He said they assured the fire victims that the processing of financial assistance will be shortened to one month or less, instead of two to three months before due to the usual bureaucracy of government.
The mayor and Vice Mayor El Cid Familiaran, together with the Department of Social Services and Development and Taculing barangay officials distributed food packs to the fire victims Sunday.
Leonardia said they assured the fire victims that the city will give priority to the development of the relocation sites.
The Bureau of Fire Protection investigation showed that the fire started at the second floor of the house of Letecia Maculob, that was occupied by her daughter Mary Grace Caramonte.
Lumawag said the fire victims who need relocation will be required to submit certification from the DSSD, Bureau of Fire Protection, the city and province.
She said some will be relocated at the Arao relocation site, a few will be transferred to the Vista Alegre-Granada relocation site, while others will be transferred to Handumanan.
They have conducted an inventory of vacant and abandoned lots for re-awarding, she said.
There are about 400 available lots at the relocation site, while the city has 2,000 lots which have not yet been developed, she added.
Leonardia said he has requested Councilor Renecito Novero to study how they can fully develop the Progreso Village that includes the Vista Alegre-Granada and Arao relocation sites.
Gina Castro, DSSD cluster supervisor, said they have provided the 35 families food packs consisting of 6-kilos of rice, noodles and six pieces of canned goods that will be good for two to three days.
They will again provide again food packs to the fire victims tomorrow to sustain them during the Holy Week, she said.
Castro said the social workers are re-validating the owners of the houses affected by the fire. There are also some who are taking advantage of the situation by claiming that they are renters when they are not.
Leonardia said the Progreso Village has an existing elementary and high school. He had lobbied for the establishment of the high school when he was yet in Congress. They are also studying the possibility of putting up an extension college of the Bacolod City College in the area.
The Social Action Center led by Fr. Chris Gonzales is appealing to the public to help the fire victims by donating food stuff and clothing.*CGS
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