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Dads back mayor: approve PHP8 M supplemental budget to rebuild burned market, relocate affected vendors

SO IT BURNS. The Baguio City market blocks 3 and 4 went up in smoke, a five hour conflaguration that affected 1,600 vendors. BCPO

The city council Thursday had no qualms in supporting the mayor’s call for a supplemental budget to fast track the restoration the city market’s Blocks 3 and 4 which went to ashes during a five hour blaze last Saturday.

During its special session, the councilors supported mayor Benjamin Magalong’s call to restore the burned portion of the city market within just seven days when it approved the supplemental budget of PhP8 million, down from the earlier request of PhP10 million.

“The request was for PhP10 million but the body approved PhP8 million,” said councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr, which he said was good enough to restore what was burned last Saturday night at 11M and was contained by responding firemen by 4:38 the next morning.

The Local Finance Committee has already certified the availability of funds for the needed rehab works.

The special session was made upon the request of Magalong, who also asked for the concurrence to the proposed relocation sites at Malcolm Square, portions of Perfecto, Hilltop, Kayang and Zandueta Streets as well as Burnham Park.

Magalong on Thursday has allowed 124 dry goods, 50 refreshments and 10 eateries to occupy the Rillera Building.

A total of 86 slots will be ready for draw lots for dry goods sellers at Malcom Square using tents lent by  a private individual while 32 possible slots at the Igorot Garden are also being prepared.

Meanwhile, councilor Isabelo Coasalan, Jr. filed resolution No. 00875-23 “urging loans and financing institutions to defer payment of loans without incurring additional interest for those affected by the structural fire,…that affected 1,600 stall owners,” last weekend.

“Let us continue pushing ourselves to the limit — for our vendors,” Magalong said urging his fellow city officials to work round the clock to restore normalcy at the market, which has a history of getting burned on March during the celebration of the fire month. The worst fire that his the market was in March 2008, exactly 15 years ago.

He again thanked the various groups and individuals from both the public and private sectors who extended assistance in whatever form to boost the restoration efforts.

Meanwhile, Baguio City Fire Marshall Supt. Marisol Odiver said result of laboratory tests that will determine the origin of fire is still being awaited.

She said that at present, what they know is that the fire started at the wagwagan section near the chicken livestock at Block 4 extension area.

The collected pieces of evidences had been submitted to the BFP national headquarters for laboratory testing, said the fire chief, who added that fire scene analysis using National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) international standard, arc mapping and identification of fire patterns undertaken.

She added that the evidences  will be subjected to flammability test and electrical analysis by the fire laboratory service of the BFP national headquarters, results of which are now being awaited.

Statement from witnesses interviewed by a BF investigative team had been gathered and collated so they can come out with a conclusion.

Magalong earlier said subjecting the evidence to forensic examination is necessary to establish what caused the blaze.

“Determining the cause of a fire requires forensics.  Hindi basta-basta visual ‘yan.  Parang krimen din ‘yan.  Diyan natin malalaman kung paano talaga nag-umpisa and it will be conducted by the Bureau of Fire Protection to once and for all dispel the intrigues and lies being spread,” the mayor said.

Makeshift stalls to temporarily house the displaced vendors are quickly taking shape through the concerted effort of individuals and groups from both the public and private sectors.  Pigeon Lobien

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