• Marawi residents: ‘We want to rebuild from where our roots are found’


    SOME Marawi residents, displaced by the war between government forces and the Islamic State-inspired Maute extremist group, want reparation or compensation from government.

    Appearing before the Senate inquiry on the government’s rehabilitation plan for Marawi City, Sultan Abdul Hamidullah Atar, representing the internally displaced persons (IDPs), said that to resolve their grievances, there must be a law that would give back to them their land “without the issue of military land reservation.”

    “We want the immediate return of our people on the ground zero and the law on reparation be implemented to pay our destroyed houses and lost properties,” he said.

    “Our homes should not be flattened to the ground for that is the place where our people have converged, where our Islamic faith is established, where our traditional value systems have been molded and where our roots are found,” Atar said.

    Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito, chairman of the subcommittee on housing under the Ad Hoc Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, and Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian listened to Marawi City officials, led by Mayor Madjul Gandamra, who discussed the government’s housing and rehabilitation plan for Marawi City.

    Also tackled were the construction of temporary and permanent shelters for the displaced residents of Marawi, as well as the restoration of water, electricity and other public utilities.

    During his dialog with Marawi local leaders, Ejercito said, “In our discussion with Mayor (Majul Gandamra) he’s very open to the option that the government would give financial assistance and then it’s up to the residents because I think they want to rebuild their own homes.”

    “So that is now being explored,” Ejercito said.

    The Marawi conflict, which lasted for five months in 2017 destroyed 11,000 homes and business structures. The government will need an initial P10 billion for the city’s rehabilitation. BERNADETTE E. TAMAYO



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