Bontoc, Mountain Province – A total of 34 residential houses and business
establishments in Barangay Poblacion, Bontoc, Mountain Province were razed after a
fire broke at around 2:30 in the morning of April 11, 2023, and was declared fire out by
the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) at 7:20 A.M. on the same day.
Per a report from the Bontoc Emergency Operations Center (EOC), 24 structures were
totally damaged, 10 were partially damaged, and 11 vehicles were burnt. A total of 194
individuals or 96 families were affected by the incident.
Relative to the incident, Bontoc Mayor Jerome “Chagsen” Tudlong, Jr., who is also the
Chairperson of the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council
(MDRRMC) and Responsible Official of the Bontoc EOC expressed his gratitude to all
responders and community volunteers.
“It was a devastating scenario to witness how the fire engulfed the houses and
structures. And then we hear about so many Good Samaritans going out of their way to
help by sharing food and other necessities. People come out from their abode to help
firefighters put off the fire, assist the safety officers/ police officers in crowd control and
flow of traffic, and offer help to evacuees. Indeed, it is in the most difficult times that the
spirit of Og-ogfo/Bayanihan shines the brightest. I’d like to personally thank all of you
for the important roles you played in this most devastating incident. I know you have all
gone beyond the call of duty – sacrificing your time, energy, and resources to help in
whatever way you can. You are all heroes. Thank you,” the mayor remarked.
Cash and in-kind donations continue to pour in. A total of P2, 053, 534 was received by
the Bontoc Local Government Unit (LGU) for fire victims as of 3:00 in the afternoon of
April 14, 2023.
A few hours after the fire was declared fire out by the BFP, a ritual called “Khaeb si
Uminuman,” a cleansing ritual performed after an incident to appease the unseen and
the living before the responders go home was performed by Municipal Indigenous
People Mandatory Representative (IPMR) David Coycoyen at the Municipal Ato.
Meanwhile, elders led by former IPMR George Luis Fakat performed “Changtey” or a
cleansing ritual on April 12, 2023. The ritual is done in eventful difficulties like the fire
With the conduct of the ritual, the clearing operations at ground zero and the
construction of the temporary shelters for fire victims stopped on April 13, 2023, for the
observance of “Tengaw” – a cultural lockdown. All activities being done at ground zero
will resume on Sunday, April 16, 2023.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation and the estimated damage cost is still to be
released by the BFP.// Alpine L. Killa-Malwagay & Christy Mae F. Che-es, Bontoc
LGU/Photo by Juvy T. Lopez, Bontoc LGU