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Marawi restoration still "on target” despite delays

August 12, 2019 - Monday 1:08 PM by Ruth Palo

Article Banner Image ON TRACK. Army soldiers drive through Marawi’s streets to keep the city safe as government rushes to complete restoration efforts. Story on Page 2. ARJOY M. CENIZA

EXCERPT:

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said as of this time, “ground zero” continues to be a restricted area for its 27,000 residents across 24 villages, including the “renters and sharers” of commercial and residential properties.

 

MARAWI CITY -- The Local Government Unit (LGU) here and the National Housing Authority (NHA) assured the public that the government is still on “target” in terms of its timeline to rebuild this war-torn city by December 2021.

In a media briefing here on Friday, NHA General Manager and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Secretary General Marcelino Escalada Jr. said there is “no delay” in the target completion of the rehabilitation of the Most Affected Area (MAA) or “ground zero.”

He said the actual recovery will immediately commence following the release of funds and evaluation of the area.

“It is not about the event, it is all about when the funds is given to me,” he said.

Escalada said the funds were only downloaded in 2018 to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) to finance all the development projects in Marawi’s rehabilitation.

He said difficulties in clearing the main battle zone or "ground zero" are slowing rehabilitation efforts as there are still several unexploded ordinances (UXOS) present in the area.

“ As of today, 42 UXOS have yet to be recovered by the military,” he said.

Escalada clarified that the task of NHA as outlined by the Bangon Marawi Task Force was to build temporary and permanent shelters, aside from managing debris -- including clearing of explosives.

For his part, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said he is hopeful that by this November the demolition would be finished and a go-signal for the return of residents would be issued.

He said this would mean the occupants of demolished structures can rebuild their structures.

The city government can also start the construction of public infrastructure such as markets, schools, hospitals, memorial parks, roads, and drainage system.

Of the 6,435 structures in the MAA, only 2,804 owners have given consent for the demolition of their structures as of August 9, 2019 while 1,720 had been cleared of debris, Gandamra added.

He said as of this time, the MAA continues to be a restricted area for its 27,000 residents across 24 villages, including the “renters and sharers” of commercial and residential properties.

Last Friday, August 9, 2019, Escalada and Gandamra led the groundbreaking ceremony for the permanent shelters of the families displaced by the five-month-long urban siege launched by Maute group on May 23, 2017.

Gandamra told reporters that the project is a joint venture with San Miguel Corporation Foundation and NHA.

The NHA acquired the land and land development while the Foundation will handle the construction of 2,000 permanent houses, which are expected to be finished by March 2020, Gandamra said.

“Yong po yong mga kababayan natin na hindi na makakabalik sa kanilang kinalalagyan noon dahil most of them where situated in an area which is declared as danger zone by the government,” he said.

(This is for our citizens who cannot return to their former homes because most of most of them where situated in an area which is declared as danger zone by the government.O

The 39 hectares of land will also cover the building of some infrastructure facilities like markets, schools, prayer area, and livelihood centers.

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