Puerto Princesa councilor Nancy Socrates said the City Council is ready to approve measures to provide funds for the fire victims in Barangays San Miguel and Model, but their “hands are tied” to release them because of the election ban.
Socrates said this on Saturday following the major fire that hit Barangay Model.
“Kamukha noong nangyari sa San Miguel, naka-ready na ‘yong pondo kaya lang siyempre hindi ma-release dahil election ban kaya in the case of San Miguel, si President (Rodrigo) Duterte na mismo ang nangako ng tulong. I’m sure ganyan din mangyayari dito [sa Model] dahil ‘yon nga, nakatali ang kamay namin. Hindi talaga kami puwedeng mag-release ng pondo,” Socrates pointed out.
After the fire on the night of April 27, affected residents from the area were temporarily evacuated to East Central School (ECS). They were assisted by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) which provided warm meals.
Meanwhile, Socrates said she will also follow up the approval of the City Council of an earlier filed resolution that seeks the city government’s support in upgrading the equipment of the firemen to better respond to fire incidents.
She said the measure was proposed by councilor Rolando “Bong” Amurao to provide firemen of the city Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) new breathing apparatuses which they could not have immediately due to lack of funds.
“‘Yong ma-upgrade din ang equipment ng ating firemen, kasi kamukha noong may resolution kasi si konsehal Amurao dati na i-provide sila ng breathing apparatus, ‘yong may oxygen sa likod, parang mahal ata yon. I-follow up ko kung anong nangyari na doon sa resolution na ‘yon pero I think na ang problema doon ay ‘yong pondo talaga,” Socrates said.
She also called on residents of the city to increase their vigilance and carefulness in ensuring that fire incidents are avoided by simply following safety tips in places with limited spaces like the “talipapa area”.
“So, talagang in terms of equipment, importanteng-importante na ma-upgrade talaga sila at saka tulong-tulong na lang sa awareness sa mga tao na talagang triple ang ingat dapat lalo na kung tabi-tabi ‘yong ganitong lugar. To be prepared lang kasi minsan kahit anong paghahanda rin natin ay hindi maiwasan kapag nangyari na, ang bilis lang din,” she added.
Socrates said the members of the City Council will also sit down to consider and draft measures geared toward improving responses to fire incidents.
The fire in Barangay Model happened a week after another also hit residents along Fundador Road in Barangay San Miguel, killing a mother who tried to save her two children.