By Yas D. Ocampo
Davao City — Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio has asked the city council here for legislative authority to declare a state of calamity in this city, after Tropical Storm “Vinta” displaced 18,000 families here.
The city council is scheduled to meet in a special session today, Christmas Day, Carpio said. “I have sought for authority to use all the remaining disaster funds.
The city has so far allocated P86 million allocated for the victims of the calamity.
Carpio has also postponed merrymaking in the city in connection with the P19-million month-long Pasko Fiesta.
Currently, the City Social Services and Development Office, City Veterinarian’s Office, City Agriculturist’s Office, City Health Office, and other agencies are determining the extent of the damage. Carpio said that, as of 6 p.m. Saturday, a total of 18,603 families have been affected in 25 barangays.
The call for a state of calamity also came as a large mall here was hit by fire Saturday, with 37 employees feared dead or unaccounted for.
Early on, responders from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and Central 911 transported at least six victims to the hospital.
Intense heat from the fire has caused the collapse of some portions of the mall, while it was still unclear whether employees of SSI Call Center trapped in the fourth floor comfort room of NCCC Mall were still alive.
However, Carpio said that it was not clear whether the city could include the fire incident as part of the reasons for declaring a state of calamity. The City Legal Office is already looking into the matter, according to her.
As of press time, the BFP has declared the fire under control, although Carpio said it was still dangerous for firefighters to approach the area where the victims were believed trapped.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, at dawn Saturday, wept as he broke the news to the victims’ families that ground teams have given him an assessment that there was “zero change” that anyone could survive the fire.