ILIGAN CITY (MindaNews/24 June) – — Sixty-eight students were displaced while 27 others injured when fire allegedly caused by faulty electrical wiring razed the north wing on the ground floor of the Princess Lawanen Hall (PLH) ladies’ dormitory at the Mindanao State University (MSU) campus in Marawi City at around 3 a.m. Saturday.
Dayang-Dayang Khadija J. Baguinda, guidance counselor from the Division of Student Affairs said 17 rooms were totally damaged by fire, displacing 68 occupants. Each room in the 200-capacity dormitory accommodates four students from various parts of Mindanao.
Twenty-seven other students from the second floor of the dormitory were injured as they scampered for safety, some of them jumping from the second floor to save their lives. Baguinda said the injured were rushed to the university infirmary for medication.
PLH is one the oldest dormitories on campus and is located some 10 meters from the administration building and university cafeteria. Its main door is locked at 8 p.m. for security reasons.
MSU has five ladies’ and four men’s dormitories, according to the MSU website.
Baguinda said the affected students are temporarily housed at Bulawan Hall, a new dormitory.
She said they are arranging for psychosocial intervention for the traumatized students.
Relief goods have been extended to the displaced students. They were also allowed to cal their families through the assistance of the Dean of the College of Engineering. “We will also excuse students from their academic activities,” Baguinda said.
The university’s Disaster Quick Response Team is providing free meals to the displaced students until June 29.
Baguinda said the DSA welcomes support from organizations or individuals who wish to help the students. She said they need clothes, school supplies, toiletries and towels.
She said the students will stay in Bulawan Hall “intil the university is able to repair all the damages at PLH.”
The Scholare and Duyog TriPeople Youth Organization, an association of student scholars, called on government to prioritize education in the budget so that state universities can regularly improve its facilities to make them fire-proof.
PLH is a building of combined concrete and wood materials.
MSU was founded on September 1, 1961 and received its first batch of students on June 13, 1962.
The groups said the incident should be the basis for a comprehensive inspection and monitoring of all dormitories, boarding houses, and establishments in the university in compliance with all security and safety mechanisms. This is necessary to protect the rights and welfare of the students,” they explained. (Violeta M. Gloria/MindaNews)