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Fire hit polling sites in Maguindanao del Sur’s capital town

COTABATO CITY, Philippines — A mysterious fire damaged two classrooms in an elementary school campus in Buluan, Maguindanao del Sur after Monday’s polling activities, widely perceived as arson that local residents want investigated extensively.

The incident was preceded by the fires that razed on the eve of the October 30 barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections the school buildings in the campus of the Ruminimbang Elementary School in Barira and in the Pilot Central Elementary School in Datu Odin Sinsuat, both in Maguindanao del Norte province.

Senior Fire Officer 2 Musahid M. Guiam, chief of the Buluan municipal fire station, told reporters Wednesday that their investigators placed at no less than P2 million the value of the property damaged by the fire that razed a building in Lower Siling Elementary School in Barangay Siling.

Guiam said they are still trying to establish the real cause of the fire that destroyed the classrooms.

Talks are spreading around Buluan, where the Maguindanao Del Sur provincial capitol is located, stating that the school building seemed to have been set on fire deliberately.

Villagers reportedly noticed thick smoke billowing from the school building at about 4:00 p.m. Monday, after polling activities had ended.

Responding firemen managed to prevent the fire from spreading to other buildings nearby.