Bontoc, Mountain Province

A total of 34 residential houses and business establishments in Barangay Poblacion, Bontoc,
Mountain Province were razed after a fire broke at around 2:30 in the morning of April 11, 2023,
and was declared fire out by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) at 7:20 A.M. of the same day. Per a report from the Bontoc Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 24 structures were totally damaged, 10 were partially damaged, and 11 vehicles were burnt. A total of 194 individuals or 96 families
were affected by the incident.

Relative to the incident, Bontoc Mayor Jerome “Chagsen” Tudlong, Jr., who is also the Chairperson of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (MDRRMC) and Responsible Official of the Bontoc EOC expressed his gratitude to all responders and community volunteers.
“It was a devastating scenario to witness how the fire engulfed the houses and structures. And then we hear about so many Good Samaritans going out of their way to help by sharing food and other necessities.

People come out from their abode to help firefighters put off the fire, assist the safety officers/ police officers in crowd control and flow of traffic, and offer help to evacuees. Indeed, it is in the
most difficult times that the spirit of Og-ogfo/Bayanihan shines the brightest. I’d like to personally thank all of you for the important roles you played in this most devastating incident. I know you have all gone beyond the call of duty – sacrificing your time, energy, and resources to help in whatever way you can.

You are all heroes. Thank you,” the mayor remarked. Cash and in-kind donations continue to pour in. A total of P2, 053, 534 was received by the Bontoc Local Government Unit (LGU) for fire victims as of 3:00 in the afternoon of April 14, 2023. A few hours after the fire was declared fire out by the BFP, a ritual called “Khaeb si Uminuman,” a cleansing ritual performed after an incident to appease the unseen and the living before the responders go home, was performed by Municipal Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) David Coycoyen at the Municipal Ato. Meanwhile, elders led by former IPMR George Luis Fakat performed “Changtey” or a cleansing ritual on April 12, 2023.

The ritual is done in eventful difficulties like the fire incident. With the conduct of the ritual, the clearing operations at ground zero and the construction of the temporary shelters for fire victims stopped on April 13, 2023, for the observance of “Tengaw” – a cultural lockdown. All activities being done at ground zero will resume on Sunday, April 16, 2023. The cause of fire is still under investigation and the estimated damage cost is still to be released by the BFP.

Alpine L. Killa-Malwagay & Christy Mae F. Che-es, Bontoc LGU

Amianan Balita Ngayon