Arson at Isla Puting Bato?
“The next day, they blockaded the entrance with drums, container vans, so that people and the construction materials they brought won’t be able to pass.”
By IGAL JADA SAN ANDRES
ISLA PUTING BATO, Manila — “My neighbors were shouting ‘fire! fire!.’ I asked, ‘Where is it?’ because I had just come home. They said it was at the corner. When we looked, the fire was already big. My children became agitated. They said, ‘Mama, hurry, let’s go.’ I could only think of my children. My eldest, in her agitation, carried her shoes away. My youngest took the dog. My second child, maybe because she was so nervous, was in shock, so I just dragged her. When we arrived at the end of the street, I went back. I tried to save even just a little of what I was selling, but I couldn’t because the fire was already beside our house. In the end, we couldn’t save anything, not even one, not even our clothes, only ourselves.”
This was the story told by Isabel Solayao, 37, a resident of Isla Puting Bato, to Bulatlat.com two weeks after a fire razed their homes. More than 1500 families were affected by the blaze which began at around 4 p.m. until 6:00 in the evening.
The fire started at a house near the entrance to Isla Puting Bato. There was only one way for the residents to flee: to the end of the Isla. Some residents scaled the wall while others jumped into the sea for safety.
(Photo by Igal Jada Sand Andres / bulatlat.com)
The cause of the fire remains unclear. There are rumors that it was caused by a gas tank exploding or illegal electrical connections or a child playing with matches. But some residents believe otherwise – contending that the fire was not accidental and that the perpetrators might have been paid.
“What they’re telling us is that there was a couple who fought,” Isabel said. “The husband allegedly poured gasoline on his wife. But the wife was able to run to the barangay hall. So the man burned down their house. Purportedly they did not really own the house; they were only renting it.”
The couple has not been sighted after the event..... MORE