Bacolod eyes new structure for the blind

Mayor Alfredo “Albee” Benitez visits the fire victims of the Home for the Blind at the gymnasium of Barangay Mansilingan, Bacolod City Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Albee Benitez via Facebook)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The local government here will assess the situation of the fire victims at the Home for the Blind in Barangay Mansilingan if they can still rebuild in the same area or transfer to a new location.

In a press briefing on Monday, Alma Gustilo, officer-in-charge of the Department of Social Services and Development (DSSD), said that 20 families, including eight blind or persons with disabilities (PWDs) were affected by a fire that destroyed two buildings and a house and damaged two other houses last Saturday.

Gustilo said the structure which is situated at the government property is congested because of some informal settlers who happened to be the extended families of some household owners in the area.

Gustilo said the affected households are temporarily sheltered at the barangay gymnasium, while some are looking for a relocation.

She said the city will have to assess first their situation before referring them to the Bacolod Housing Authority (BHA) for relocation.

For a long-term plan, Gustilo said that the city might provide them with a building structure exclusively for the blind or PWDs, while their other families could be provided with a separate structure.

“We will be making programs for the Home for the Blind para indi na sila mag balik sa dalan, with the help of the City Engineering Office (CEO),” she added.

Gustilo said the city is providing assistance such as 10 kilos of rice and canned goods to 56 blind families every month.

She said the city government has already provided immediate relief assistance to the fire victims, while their financial assistance is being processed.

Based on the report of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Bacolod, the fire left an estimated P4.3 million worth of damage.

The blaze was initially caused by an electrical ignition, according to the BFP. No injuries were reported.