May 15th, 2010
01:37 PM ET

Fire in Philippines leaves 4,000 homeless

A massive fire Saturday engulfed a sprawling slum area near the Philippine capital of Manila, leaving at least 4,000 people homeless.

Metro Manila fire chief Pablito Cordeta told CNN affiliate ABS-CBN that at least 800 shanty houses were gutted in Muntinlupa City before fire trucks were able to douse the blaze. The area is about four miles from Manila.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Cordeta said.

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soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Jim

    That is about 5 people per slum dwelling. Should make most think twice before complaining about living conditions here in the U.S. I am constantly amazed at the level of poverty throughout the world, and more amazed at how shameful mankind continues to make war (all over the planet) and so blindly pursues materialism (while others go in want of even the most basic needs–food, shelter, clothing, education, and a meaningful job).

    May 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. David

    I am amazed as well – I participated in a mission in The Philippines last year – feeding rice to the elderly poor. Please pray for those in the slums – and remember them.

    May 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rod

    I am an expat living in the Philippines. The enormity of the poverty here is heartbreaking. The worst off, in my opinion are the sugar cane workers. They work all day in sweltering heat, doing back breaking work for peanuts. Those that happen to own a acre or two, borrow money to buy fertilizer, at 10% to 15% interest PER MONTH!! After the harvest, they pay back the loan, and have basically nothing to show for all the labor. And thus starts the next cycle.

    May 15, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    I too am an expat living here a few miles from where the fire took place. I have been here for the better part of a decade. While poverty is horrendous, accountability and a lack or respect for the law created this mess. People who squat are stealing their homes and often the utilities. They deplete the area of resources and pollute it to beyond relief. Burining trash in the streets and using unsafe containers to transport flammable materials is commonplace. While I feel badly that so many lost their possessions, maybe the government will finally wake up and stop enabling these people. Protecting those who steal and destroy is part of the mentality that destroys this nation. Stop thinking that God will provide and begin being accountable. Life can only improve when you stop having children without the means to feed and clother them properly! Work is to be had but it requires commitment. Too many here still ascribe to the theory that others will bail them out. A job is not an inconvenience. There are plenty of them here but you must be willing to follow rules and be on time. Slums here are borne from the mentality of "everyone else is doing it" rather than true desperation.

    May 15, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mark

    I'm a Filipino from a middle class family who's been living in the Philippines most of my life. I have to say, I don't really know how to feel about this. quite frankly, my mind is telling me that they deserve it, but my heart is just screaming that i should feel sorry for them. The truth is, how can i be sorry for the people who are blatantly violating the law, disrupting other people's lives, producing more children than they can support, and bumming around 80% of the time while waiting for God to provide relief. I doubt that other people from other countries would see it the way I do. I love my country and i feel sorry for these people. But I can't get over the fact that somehow, they deserved it. They may not have put themselves in that position, but they aren't really doing anything to get themselves out. We can help as much as we like but until they start moving for themselves, what's the use.

    May 15, 2010 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Keith Deines

    Reading over these comments, they deserved it? It's their fault?
    You really think people aspire to living in a slum?
    Poverty is a vicious circle.
    Shake your head...good grief

    May 15, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bob

    I am a 16 year old living in Manila. The poverty here is just unbelievable, almost everywhere you are sure to see someone who lives in these kinds of slums. At our school all you have to do is look over the fence and you will see the hundreds that live in horrible living conditions . Mark i am not quite sure I understand what you are saying that they deserve it. The root cause of these problems is not entirely to blame on these people, who first of all receive little or no education. Yes they are perhaps violating the law but I do not see any other solution that they have. Are they to live in areas that are even worse than those that they currently live in? I believe that these people are living in these slums because they are left with no other choice! I am sure that many of these people if given the chance would change their lives for the better. What we need here is a government that is not as corrupt and is willing to help the citizens of this country and not just the top ten percent of the country. The Church wields quite a lot of power and the idea of family planning and such is looked down upon. Hence the problem of families with 5 kids or more.

    May 15, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. roy

    these slum dwelllers are being used by politicians for so many years to garnerded votes. what a crooked catholic country. typical spanish culture from south america. always leaving their fate to a god who does nt care at all.

    May 15, 2010 at 10:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. frank V

    It is easy to blame the poor people who moved to the big city from the provinces, in search of a better life. I understand the frustrations of people who live in areas where squatters have moved in. My in-lays live in Pasig which has lots of factories and therefor a lot of squatters. It causes power outs, lack of runningwater, more traffic.
    But the main culprit is the ogvernment, where senators and congressmen only think of themselves. They get richer and richer and keep these government positions amongst themselves. Roads need major improvement, the provinces need jobs and livelihoods and tourism needs a serious boost. Wanna see all senators enjoying themselves? Come in November to the next Pacqiao fight in Vegas and see who is in the crowd. All costs paid by Filipino tax payers of course...

    May 15, 2010 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. roy


    May 15, 2010 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David

    I am a Filipino who has been working abroad for at least 7 years, Everytime I hear such a heartbreaking reality back home, I can't deny myself blaming the leaders for after all these years they haven't done anything to alleviate this problem. While they continue to corrupt the people and harnish the country's resources, we OFW will also continue tightening our financial resources just to have some penny to send back home. I just always dream that one day my country would be great again and thus we don't have to suffer the nostalgia away from home. And that someday I could find job in the Philippines whose monhtly rate is as the same as I have now..

    May 15, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CTC Philippines

    It is heart breaking to hear news like this. But, it is no surprise when one sees the majority of the living conditions people must surrender to in order to live here in the Philippines. My prayers go out to them. Personally, I feel a vast piece of the remedy for the Philippines to address this issue lies in providing a better quality education to its youth. This would allow these young adults alternative avenues to a better means of living thus bettering themselves and subsequently the nation. Let's pray the new administration will do better in providing means to eradicate poverty.

    May 15, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jon Jon

    It is their fault for what they have or have not ? Pity are the people that had written it is their fault to be in the slums of Manila. I am sure that you will not like to live the way they are. I am sure about that, let along to relinquish the house of your dog for they surely will take it in exchange.
    Look at the Marcoses of yesteryears. Look at the Arroyos of recent. What a shame and pity these people who are trying to live and are trying to see the light of days in their lives.
    NoyNoy this is a blessing to open your eyes. Let us help them!!!!!

    May 15, 2010 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. richard ilomaki

    I have spent some time in this country as well as others in Asia and in my opinion the main cause, in addition to "Waiting for God to do it" is the fact that the country is so egregiously corrupt. It is run by crooks and clowns with guns, all of whom have huge sums in Swiss banks. These horrors will not end until the crooks and clowns are gone, by whatever means, and a benevolent dictatorship a la Singapore, sets things right. This is a long way in the future if the western fruit and mineral interests stay in control.i

    May 15, 2010 at 11:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Joey S

    I am a Filipino living in Australia. The Philippines has long been a milking cow for corrupt politicians,like the current administration. The living conditions in most cities of the country are appalling. A lot of my countrymen are forced to live on just 30 US cents a day. Most of us professionals are forced to go out of the country to try their luck somewhere else. With politicians like Arroyo, I don't see any bright future for the country. I see a worsening situation if our so called leaders do not wake up and continue their corrupt ways I leave it to God to judge Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her corrupt minions who have milked the country dry.

    May 16, 2010 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
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