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By: Mylen Manto | Published Tuesday, March 03, 2020
More than 600 families in Barangay Ibabao-Estancia, Mandaue City who lost their homes and belongings to a fire on Saturday, February 29, 2020 received relief goods from the Cebu Provincial Government. (Tonee Despojo)

“Di lalim masunugan. Mas maayo pa ang bagyo.”(It’s better to experience typhoon rather than fire.) 

A terrified Magdalena Siacor, 61 years old resident of Barangay Ibabao-Estancia in Mandaue City, Cebu expressed this after suffering the wrath of a noontime fire on February 29, 2020. 

Upon seeing thick and dark smoke that day, she hurriedly left her home for the past 40 years together with her family after grabbing a few clothing and birth certificates of her children and grandchildren. 

Though scared, she wanted to go back to get more things but her children stopped her from doing so.

Eleven-year old Airalhyn Veraces, a grade 6 student, was also able to save only her books as she and her family ran out of their house when the fire broke out. 

“Wala na nako nakuha ang uniform kay nanagan naman mi (I wasn’t able to get my uniform as we already ran for safety),” she said. 

The Siacor and Veraces families, together with 685 other families of Sitios Tarnate and Bayabas of the barangay, lost their homes and belongings to that Saturday fire, the third fire incident in Mandaue City in the past month. 

But amidst all this, Siacor and Veraces are thankful for all the help they received from their barangay officials, the Mandaue City Government and the Province of Cebu through Governor Gwendolyn Garcia and 6th District Provincial Board Members Glenn Anthony Soco and Thadeo “Jonkie” Ouano.

The Provincial Government distributed 69 sacks of rice, 57 boxes of canned sardines and corned beef, 201 pieces of plates, 150 pieces of plastic bowls, 221 pieces of pot, 479 pieces of mosquito nets, 297 pieces of mats, 150 pieces of blankets, and 378 pieces of pails on Monday, March 2. 

Aside from the relief goods, Soco also donated 35 gallons of water. 

Ibabao-Estancia barangay captain Romulo Echavez, Jr. declared the sitios under state of calamity after the incident. 

He added that around 14 individuals were reportedly injured and the 1,821 individuals affected by the fire are currently staying in the gym, Mandaue City Science High School and Ibabao-Estancia Elementary School. (Mylen Manto)