President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered Secretary Emmanuel Piñol of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) to take charge of the rehabilitation of thousands of evacuees from the recent fire in Jolo, Sulu.

Piñol is set to coordinate with various national government agencies to plan out the rehabilitation programs for the victims.

Around 9 a.m. on Monday, a fire gutted 1,500  houses in Sitio Bunkhouse, Barangay Chinese Pier, Jolo.  The raging flames quickly spread to nearby barangays of Takut-Takut and Tulay. Authorities declared fire out around 12:46 p.m. Nine people were injured.

Senior Fire Officer 1 (SFO1) Sedmar Harib, fire and arson investigator, estimated the damage to properties at PHP17 million.

According to Piñol, they will be needing huge numbers of lumber to reconstruct the burned homes. 

“I will talk to DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) Secretary Roy Cimatu so that confiscated wood products in the Zamboanga area can immediately be sent to Jolo,” he said.

“We will set up lumber processing facilities there if needed,” he added.

Families are currently situated at Hja. Hassiman Elementary School in Barangay Tulay, Plaza Tulay, and Santanina Rasul Complex in Barangay San Raymundo, Jolo.  (RJ Espartinez)