By Jonathan M. Hicap Reporter
A fire that lasted for more than
four hours gutted the main building of the Muntinlupa City hall just
before noon Friday, destroying municipal documents, millions worth
of office equipment and paralyzing government operations.
Employees fled from their offices
when the flames started to engulf the building. Sources said the
fire started from shanties at the back of the city hall. The
shanties were built beside the wall that separates the city hall
from the residential area.
An employee told The Manila Times
the fire quickly spread to the city engineering office and to the
rest of the offices at the second floor including the office of the
Mayor Aldrin San Pedro was
attending an event in Alabang when the fire broke out. He wasted no
time rushing to the city hall.
The mayor’s own water trucks
were the first to respond to the fire, which reached general alarm.
Other fire trucks from nearby areas arrived to help.
As of 4 p.m., firemen were still
working to control the fire. Nobody was reported injured.
The mayor did not rule out the
possibility that the fire was intentional to derail his work as the
“It’s possible,” he said.
San Pedro marked his first month
in office on Thursday since he assumed office on July 2.
He instructed authorities to
investigate extensively the cause of the fire and focus on the arson
The main building of the city
hall housed different offices including the office of the mayor,
vice-mayor’s office, engineering, personnel, budget, regional
trial courts, accounting, tax and license, treasury.
Also destroyed was the Muntinlupa
police station. The police had to transfer inmates to other jail
facilities in the city.
Employees were baffled why the
fire spread so quickly, bolstering the theory that it was arson.
San Pedro said that while the
main building is being rebuilt, the city hall annex and People’s
Center will be used as temporary offices.
He assured the public that the
operations of the city government would normalize by next week.