Task force rebuilding Marawi urges Filipinos not to ''doubt'' their efforts
Task Force Bangon Marawi on Friday told Filipinos to not “doubt” the government’s effort in rehabilitating war-thorn Marawi City.
“Everything is moving… Never doubt the government’s desire to fast track the rehabilitation of Marawi City because in the early recovery stage, we were there even the fighting is ongoing,” task force chairperson Eduardo del Rosario said in a press briefing.
Militants linked to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the Maute Group attacked Marawi City on May 2017 and occupied key buildings. The military declared the city liberated five months later.
Del Rosario made the statement after a news report said Marawi City is now a ghost town.
“I don’t accept it. If you are referring to the 250 hectares most devastated, most affected area, you may be right...Marawi City is 8,000 hectares. It’s just .08 percent of the total hectares rate and understandably the most affected area are 90-95 percent devastated,” he said.
He said the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a private subcontractor are clearing unexploded explosives and debris management is expected to be completed by August 30.
“There are still 49 big bombs, ranging from 500 pounds, 260 pounds and 120 pounds, out of 70 big bombs. And fortunately, because of the efforts of our Armed Forces of the Philippines and private contractors... four were located and unearthed just last week. So we are now down to 45 by using modern technology in pinpointing, locating these unexploded big bomb,” said Del Rosario.
Del Rosario said clearing of debris will be completed not later than September this year and road construction will commence in July.
“And as early as July of this year, in cleared areas, we will allow residence to repair their houses. Those houses were slightly damaged. We will allow them to rebuild provided they will secure building permit or repair permit from the city government,” he said.
He said they have found 4,500 improvised explosive devices, mortars, and grenades.
Del Rosario said one of their challenges are land and house ownership titles.
“The sub-committee on land resource management has to check more than 13,000 titles and house and lot owners to ensure that the coordinates of the titles and the claimant are the real owners,” said Del Rosario.
He said about 10,000 units, house and lot were completed when they discovered most titles have wrong coordinates.
“In the title, the land location is here but in the actual site where the house and lot was constructed, it was off-center or off-tangent. So we have to correct all these so when we allow them to go back to their respective houses, house and lot, or lots and claim ownership, it will now be rightfully placed in the individual titles,'' he said.
''And most of residents do not have titles, and we have to fix that and we are talking about 13,000 houses, house and lots, and lots,” he said.
Del Rosario said there is a delay in allowing the residents to go back and rebuilding their houses because of safety issues.
“That is the utmost consideration that’s why the government is not allowing them to go back in the MAA (most affected area),” he said.
On building shelter units, Del Rosario said there are transitory shelter units but in the most devastated area, there is still no construction.
They will also close the evacuation areas inside Marawi City by the end of June and the construction of permanent housing units will be at end of April or first week of May.
“Actually the side development of the permanent site for permanent shelter has been ongoing and I was told that construction of housing units that will be donated by San Miguel Foundation will start by end of April,” said Del Rosario.
For the temporary shelter, he said about 4,500 units will be available by end of 2019.
On April 6 and 7 around 32,000 residents will receive livelihood and transitional package of assistance.
“Based on our profiling, there are 32,000 qualified residents, so all these residents will be given 20,000 pesos livelihood assistance and those residing in the most affected area will be given additional 53,000 assistance by Department of Social Welfare and Development,” he said.
He said they are addressing the problem of residents with regards to food pack and looking how they can just convert it to cash.
With a total budget of P60 billion, Del Rosario said they spent P11 billion.
“We have been hearing some critics that we are somewhat delayed in the rehabilitation of Marawi City. With regards to our timetable of completion, there is no delay. So I would like to clarify that we are still confident that by December of 2021, the rehabilitation of Marawi City will be almost complete,” said Del Rosario. Ella Dionisio/DMS