Former Vice President Jejomar Binay has asked the government to include the distribution of lots inside a military reservation in Marawi City to their occupants at present in its rehabilitation plans for Lanao del Sur’s capital city that has been ruined by armed conflict.
In a letter to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, Binay cited a petition from several residents of Marawi City who have been living within the military reservation that he received when he was chairman of the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC).
“These residents had requested the agency’s help in transferring to them ownership of the lots they occupied. Sadly, the change in administration precluded any further action on their request,” he said.
The former HUDCC chairman urged Lorenzana, as Defense secretary and as martial law administrator in Mindanao, to consider his proposal in the government’s rehabilitation program for Marawi.
Some 66,738 families made up of 324,406 individuals from Marawi and nearby Marantao, Lanao del Sur have reportedly been displaced by the Marawi siege.
Many of them have been staying in evacuation centers while others have sought refuge in relatives’ homes in other towns and provinces.
Recently, news of a rediscovered 1953 Presidential Decree giving military rights over some 6,000 hectares of land in Lanao del Sur, including the bulk of Marawi City, has caused anxiety among the already beleaguered residents.
A number of local government leaders and representatives of Lanao del Sur has spoken up to warn concerned officials against causing further agitation among the Maranao people, giving emphasis to historical evidence as basis for the latter’s claim over the territory as their ancestral lands.
Military officials, however, quickly sought to allay their fears by giving assurance that “ the military will not claim any land that it does not need.”