Editorial: Tragic Christmas Day story from Tisa, Cebu City

·2 min read

DISASTERS, either caused by humans or natural disturbances, are tragic. They lead to destruction of properties.

Tragedy is when destruction happens.

A newly built home flattened by an earthquake or destroyed by a powerful typhoon brings nothing to the builder’s heart but an abyss of sadness. It takes a lifetime of an honest-living person to build a home, which could be wiped out in a matter of minutes by events that are beyond his control.

Even more tragic is when lives are lost. One may rebuild a home; one may only resurrect a loved one who perished in a calamity in memory, which is a place where intangible joy and pain intersect.

The two Christmas Day fires in the Cebu City barangays of Tisa and Sambag 2 were tragic.

Celebrating the birth of mankind’s savior was supposed to be a special day for the affected residents. Even just for a day, they could celebrate with their immediate loved ones in spite of the ongoing pandemic and the aftermath of Typhoon Odette (international name: Rai).

Then the fires struck their neighborhood.

A 26-year-old man died in the fire that hit Mansanitas, a sitio in the interior of Barangay Tisa.

Initial investigation by the Cebu City Fire Office (CCFO) showed that the fatality was chained in his family’s house because of his unstable mental condition.

The man was living alone with his parents, who are already old. His father earns a living by driving a trisikad, while his mother augments their income by selling food.

When the fire broke out, the mother tried to free her chained son, but she could not unlock the padlock because she could not find the key. She dashed outside their house and looked for her husband, who was busy securing their things. After she found her husband, they headed back home, but it was too late–their house was already engulfed by flames with their son still inside it.

It is a tragic Christmas Day story from Tisa.

One could question why the man was bound in chains. Why did the parents not seek psychiatric intervention for their son? Perhaps, poverty held them back from seeking treatment. Or, perhaps, the parents failed to receive guidance on what to do.

The Tisa incident is a reminder that a person with a mental condition is not a beast that must be locked up inside a house.

The mother said if she had known her son would perish in the fire, it would have been better for her not to leave him.

Regrets always arrive at the end of a tragic story.

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