MARAWI CITY: Mayor Majul Gandamra expressed confidence that the city devastated by the 2017 Marawi Siege would fully recover in three years.
Gandamra told reporters the ongoing rehabilitation projects inside and outside the most affected area (MAA) or “Ground Zero” is a proof that the city “will soon rise again.”
“It’s not easy to rise again but with the support of the government and support from other sectors, I know makakabangon muli ang Marawi (Marawi will rise again),” the mayor said.
Gandamra attributed the ongoing recovery of “unexploded ordnance” (UXO) and the demolition of properties, among others, to the delay in the rehabilitation timeframe.
About 70 UXOs have so far been recovered inside the MAA, 22 of which were retrieved by the Explosive and Ordnance Team of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Authorities said six of the recovered bombs have been detonated and another 42 are still subject for detection and recovery.
Another factor that delayed the rehabilitation, Gandamra said, is the refusal of more than 2,000 property owners to give consent to the demolition of their properties.
“We allow them to visit their respective properties for them to assess together with the government agencies. This is to see if the structure is sound for rehab or for repair, and if it is unsound then we will be recommending it for demolition,” he explained.
Currently, of the 6,435 structures on Ground Zero, 2,804 demolition permits have been served by the local government unit, according to Gandamra. “A total of 1,875 structures have been cleared while 1,720 were being cleared of debris,” he added.
“After the demolition, there are lots of components to be built in the ground zero,” he said, referring to the planned public infrastructures such as markets, mosques, schools, and livelihood centers.
National Housing Authority (NHA) General Manager and Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Secretary General Marcelino Escalada, however, said that despite the delays, the rehabilitation timeline remained on target.
Escalada assured full recovery would immediately start following the release of funds and assessments of the area.
“The funds were only downloaded in 2018 into the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to finance the rehabilitation and restoration of Marawi,” he pointed out.
Escalada said that NHA’s task in the Marawi rehab and restoration was to build temporary and permanent shelters, aside from clearing the area of explosive and debris.
The LGU and NHA recently led the groundbreaking ceremony of San Miguel Corp.’s housing project — Pamayandeg sa Ranaw Residences — permanent shelters in Barangay Kilala and Gadongan in Marawi City.
About 2,000 housing units will be built in the 39-hectare land and will cater to 2,000 families. Escalada said permanent shelters were expected to be completed by March 2020.