Before the end of May, 44 families were shaken to find out that they lost their homes in a fire in the DPWH compound in Engineer’s Hill, Baguio City. Most of the families were not able to salvage any of their belongings due to the raging fire that spread quickly. No one was reported injured in the incident but three senior citizens were assisted due to difficulty in breathing and hypertension.
With the situation in Engineer’s Hill, Goshen Land CEO Alexander Bangsoy initiated a call for Cordilleran binnadang to provide aid to the fire victims. Private individuals who wish to remain anonymous responded by providing clothing and relief goods such as noodles and canned goods. In the culture of binnadang, Goshen Land’s CEO provided five kilos of rice for each family. Aside from relief goods, Goshen Land’s Entrepreneurial Social Responsibility (ESR) was able to provide backpacks and other school supplies to 44 elementary pupils and 20 high school students as they go back to school this June. Additional bedsheets and mats were also given to the families.
Jane Delia-Galang, one of the fire victims says that the only thing that survived in their house was a post. She was nursing her 83-year-old mother-in-law and her 2-year-old son when they found out that there was fire in the compound. When she heard about it, she immediately evacuated her mother-in-law and baby and helped out contain the fire. She is hopeful that they would be able to rebuild their house again once they have enough resources. According to her, the land where they erected their home was the fruit of his late father’s labor as a janitor in DPWH for more than 30 years. With his father’s earnings as a government employee, they were able to acquire a piece of land in the area. If not for his father, Jane and her six siblings would not have their own homes in the area. For the meantime, Jane and her family are living with her in-law’s relatives in Legarda.
Carmencita Catbagan has been residing in Engineer’s Hill since 1964. She was on vacation with her grandchildren when she found out that they have become homeless due to the fire that broke out in the compound. What worries her right now is to look for resources for her family to rebuild their home. She is hoping that she would seek help from government officials or from any individual who might help in building a shanty for her family.
It has been a month since the fire broke out in Engineer’s Hill but the families still have high hopes to rebuild their homes and start anew in the compound even after what has happened.*** –Louella Pader