BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Isabela Mayor Irene Montilla yesterday dismissed as “malicious” on claims being spread in Isabela, Negros Occidental, that the fire that recently hit the mayor’s office was intentionally done.
“People will do anything for politics,” Montilla said.
The local Bureau of Fire and Protection maintained that there was no foul play, stressing that the fire was triggered by short circuits following the dripping of water into electrical outlets.
Montilla said what was damaged by the fire was the mayor’s office pantry that contained her personal items, such as religious icons, medicines, food supplies, among other personal items, as she also stressed that no documents had been burned,contrary to speculations.
She said she is not signing any documents in the pantry area.
Montilla said that the damage caused by fire may have reached more than P1 million.
Prior to the fire incident, there was already a plan to recheck, rewire or fix the electrical wirings, since the municipal building is already old, she said. But it was not pushed through since the budget for 2022 has yet to be approved by the Sangguniang Bayan of Isabela as of this time, Montilla added.
Vice Mayor Renato Malabor Jr. is challenging Montilla in the Isabela mayoralty race.
Montilla added that the repair of the town fire truck engine has also not been pushed through due to non-approval of the 2022 budget. To repair the damage caused by the fire, Montilla said they will get funds from the P5 million budget allocated by Fifth District Rep. Marilou Arroyo to renovate the municipal hall.*