ARMM extends help to Maguindanao fire victims PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 18 October 2013 11:04

The Wednesday fire that razed more than a hundred houses and killed three villagers in Datu Odin Sinsuat town in Maguindanao dislocated 108 poor Moro families, officials announced Thursday.

Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao said the most serious problem they need to confront now is the rebuilding of the village in Lower Taviran District in Datu Odin Sinsuat, which was totally ravaged and flattened by fire.

“Some of the fire victims are internally-displaced people from other areas that decided to relocate to Taviran area after having been displaced by past armed conflicts in their respective hometowns,” Lucman said.

Laisa Alamia, the executive secretary of the autonomous region, said the ARMM’s Humanitarian Emergency Assistance Response Team (HEART) had initially dispersed food provisions to the fire victims just hours after the conflagration..

The evacuees are now cramped in public schools around Lower Taviran, a farming area in the northwest of Datu Odin Sinsuat, the biggest town in the first district of Maguindanao.

Alamia said they are now negotiating with international donor outfits operating in Maguindanao to help provide relief supplies to the affected villagers.

Lucman said 90 percent of the 108 families displaced by the dawn fire have not saved anything from their belongings, except for the clothes they wore when the fire broke out.

Lucman said the displaced families are not beneficiaries of the government’s conditional cash transfer Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program, also known as 4Ps assistance package..

“We need to initiate measures on how to include them in the 4Ps program if we still can,” Lucman said.

The fatalities in Wednesday’s dawn fire at Lower Taviran were identified as Baileng Benito, 23, and her siblings, Baikulot, 17, and Baisheka.

Lucman said investigators are convinced the fire was accidental in nature.

Residents of Lower Taviran have frequently been using Kerosene lamps for months now due to recurring outages owing to lack of supply of electricity from the National Power Corporation to the Maguindanao Electric Cooperative.

Lucman said there were also indications that the fire may have been caused by the sudden surge of power when the supply of electricity to the area was restored after a long outage.