500 families left homeless in aftermath of Cavite blaze

Fire in Wawa 1 Brgy Zapote 5 Bacoor. (Photos courtesy of Bacoor DRRMO)

Wawa 1 is one of the “Direct Impact Areas” affected by Bacoor’s “Green and Blue Network” reclamation program, which will cover a 320-hectare space aimed at “attract[ing] economic development” in the city. Specifically, Wawa 1 is the proposed site of a “river walk” which will threaten to displace the residents in the area.

By JUSTIN UMALI
Bulatlat.com

SANTA ROSA, Laguna – An early morning fire ravaged a residential area in Wawa Uno, barangay Zapote 5, Bacoor, Cavite, leaving at least 500 families, or an estimated 2,500 to 3,000 individuals, homeless, March 23.

The fire started at approximately 2 a.m. and was extinguished three hours later. The Bacoor police and fire departments have yet to release an official report, but some residents speculate that the fire may be related to previous threats of demolition to make way for government projects.

Wawa 1 is one of the “Direct Impact Areas” affected by Bacoor’s “Green and Blue Network” reclamation program, which will cover a 320-hectare space aimed at “attract[ing] economic development” in the city. Specifically, Wawa 1 is the proposed site of a “river walk” which will threaten to displace the residents in the area.

Bacoor fisherfolk, with the help of fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakay), have long opposed the proposed reclamation, stating that it will displace fisherfolk and other residents as well as lead to aquatic pollution in violation of Republic Act 8550 or the Fisheries Code of 1998.

Last September 2019, the fisherfolk held a dialogue with Bacoor City Mayor Lani Mercado-Revilla to express their concerns, with one fisherman calling their potential displacement “inhumane”.

The fire could not come at a worse time as Bacoor residents deal with the effects of total lockdown after three people were confirmed to have COVID-19, as well as the enhanced community quarantine guidelines which put strict restrictions on public transport, employment, and the movement of people.

Residents of Wawa 1 in the aftermath of the fire. (Photo courtesy of Bacoor DRRMO)

Most residents of Wawa 1 make their living in the informal sector as vendors, fishermen, or drivers. A majority of them have been forced to stay at home without work or pay for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine, which places Luzon under a state of lockdown until April 12.

According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Cavite (BAYAN-Cavite), residents have claimed that they were only receiving “one can of sardines, one pack of noodles, and two kilos of rice” of aid from their LGU. According to Revilla, this is due to the local government’s lack of funds.

The residents of Wawa 1 have yet to receive any aid from the local government following the fire and have currently set up makeshift shelters near the area. Revilla has stated that the city government will “set up the plans for the victims, particularly their relocation site,” in the meantime. ()

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