MANILA – (UPDATED 2:40 P.M.) Prayers and presidential concern, besides the heroic efforts of firefighters. That was all that families of 37 people missing in the fire that hit NCCC Mall in Davao held on to Sunday morning, as the fire raged for more than 20 hours.
President Rodrigo Roa Duterte personally checked on the situation at the NCCC Mall, and at one point wept on hearing from the fire marshall that those trapped in the mall had zero chances of survival.
Church leaders offered spiritual solace to the families of the still-trapped victims.
They were led by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) President Romulo Valles and Monsignor Paul Cuison.
The President visited the fire scene together with his children, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio and Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte, who earlier listed the 37 missing people on his Facebook account.
Also with the Dutertes was Presidential Assistant, Secretary Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go.
Photos below, from the Malacañang Photo Bureau, offer glimpses of the situation on Sunday morning, Christmas eve: