2,000 employees fear for their livelihood after GenSan mall fire

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 18, 2019   •   853

For 13 years, Joe Dayaday has been an employee of Gaisano Mall in General Santos City. This has become his source of income to help his family get by.

On Wednesday (October 16), a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck parts of Mindanao which caused a fire at Gaisano Mall.

Huge flames torched the two-hectare mall that night, illuminating the surroundings as if the sun had never set.

It took 18 hours before authorities finally declared the fire out; it was around 1:00 p.m. on Thursday (October 17).

However, the mall was again engulfed in flames on Thursday night, leaving 90 percent of the establishment damaged.

The fire left an estimated P2 billion worth of damage, and that’s not counting the loss of livelihood it has brought to around 2,000 employees in Gaisano Mall.

As authorities finally declared fire out around 10:00 p.m. that Thursday night, uncertainty filled Joe’s heart.

“Maapektuhan talaga ang trabaho namin, marami kamung nagtatrabaho dito na maapektuhan, (Our jobs will be affected, a lot of us working here will be affected)” Joe said.

Uncertainty loomed over the 2,000 employees of Gaisano Mall, among whom is Hanzel Falalimpa.

Hanzel’s husband is currently in the hospital and it is up to her to support her family including her two children.

“Ako lang talaga ang nagtatrabaho sa amin ngayon tapos may dalawang anak pa ako, (I am the only worker in the family and I have two children)” she said. She is now at a loss where to find money for their daily needs and the hospital expenses of her husband.

Meanwhile, Joe is calling out to the government for assistance.

“Ang hiling namin sa pamahalaan sana matulungan kami na makahanap ng trabaho sa ibang kumpanya, (Our wish is for the government to help us find another job in other companies)” he said.

Assistant Department Head of City Social Welfare & Development Office GenSan Arabecque Batilong assured they will provide assistance to the employees affected by the fire.

“We gathered them sa G-Mall almost 2,000 silang empleyado. Mayroong mga ibang agencies whether private or government [that are] willing to employ them (We gathered them in G-Mall, almost 2,000 employees. There are other agencies whether private or government that are willing to employ them)” he said.—AAC (with reports from Janice Ingente)

Fire hits three warehouses in Malabon

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 8, 2020

A fire razed three warehouses in Malabon on Monday morning (June 8).

According to the Malabon Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), the fire began around 1: 45 a.m. and reached 4th alarm. Fire authorities have been putting out the fire for over 12 hours.

The fire began in one of the warehouses in Barangay Potrero and it spread to the two adjacent warehouses. According to Malabon BFP Chief Investigator SFO4 Rogerio Gayon, all the warehouses were filled with appliances.

“Marami siyang naka-store na mga kagaya noong mga TV. Kaya noong nasunog siya, iyong apoy, baka may nasa ilalim kaya kailangang halukayin, he said.

Based on the initial report of the BFP, damage to property is estimated to reach P15-million.

Meanwhile, no casualties were reported in the incident. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire. AAC (with reports from Asher Cadapan Jr.)

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800 families lost their home after Mandaluyong fire

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2020

A huge fire hit Barangay Addition Hills in Mandaluyong City on Monday (June 1).

Dennis Madeo and his two children were at home when the fire broke out. Still in recovery from a stroke, Dennis was not able to save some of their belongings. His wife, who just got back to work during the general community quarantine (GCQ), was safe.

He and his family are currently staying at a evacuation center, still unsure of where to live.

Dennis, along with the other residents, is calling for the government for assistance.

Sana tulungan kami […] hindi ko masabi kasing itong anak ko dalawa (I hope they help us […] I cannot tell what will happen, because I have two children),” he said.

According to Milagrosa Lagadan from the Mandaluyong City Social Welfare and Development, they can only provide limited assistance to the residents.

While they can provide food assistance, the local government cannot provide other necessities including clothing and personal hygiene kits.

The fire reached General Alarm with around P2 million worth of damage. –AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)

From shoes to face masks: Marikina shoemakers shift production amid COVID-19 crisis

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 14, 2020

All stores in Marikina City are temporarily closed due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) implemented in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Roweliza Landicho, owner of the Roweliza Shoes and Bags store, had to look for other sources of income after their shop closed during the ECQ.

Their shoes and bags production has been suspended and Roweliza is worried not just for her family but for her employees as well.

After attending a webinar, she decided to shift from making shoes and bags to manufacturing face masks and personal protective equipment (PPE).

Nakita ko po kasi na iyon ang parang in demand sa ngayon. Tapos, para magkaroon ng extra income pati po ang mga manggagawa namin (I saw that there is a demand for this and also for our workers to have extra income), she said.

She referred the designs of the PPE from the source data design of the Office of the Vice President and she learned the idea through the webinar of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Sinubukan po namin gumamit mga local weaves para matulungan din natin ang mga local weavers para sabay-sabay makabangon sa kaniya-kaniyang industriya (We tried to use local weavers to also help them out, so that we can all recover together in our respective industries), Roweliza said.

Meanwhile, the Zapeteria Hub has begun making face masks using shoe designs. The face mask designs vary from sneakers, leather shoe design, and others.

The face masks, which are washable, have pockets where one can put filters for extra protection.

Zapateria Hub owner Unyx Sta. Ana said they still want to retain their trademark.

Syempre ang Marikina ay kilala sa pagsasapatos. Kung gagawa man kami ng masks ay gusto namin na mailabas pa rin ang elemento ng sapatos (Of course Marikina City is known for shoes. If we are to make face masks, we still want to retain the ‘shoe element),” he said.

They have already received numerous orders from business owners like salons and barbershops. AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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