By JULMUNIR I. JANNARAL, Managing Editor
Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson and Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, committed to fast track the availability of buildable lots for additional permanent houses for the city’s displaced families.
In a statement sent to the Philippine Muslim Today, said this will be done through UN- Habitat’s Rebuilding Marawi through Community-Driven Shelter and Livelihood Project.
City Mayor Majul U. Gandamra announced and further affirmed this development at a meeting with representatives of 30 Homeowners’ Associations (HOAs) composed of more than 1,000 displaced families from the Most Affected Area (MAA) of Marawi City in Barangay Kilala on October 17, as Marawi City commemorates the 3rd anniversary since the siege ended.
Representatives of the National Housing Authority (NHA), Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), and other project partners joined Secretary del Rosario and Mayor Gandamra for key activities held at Brgy. Kilala construction site.
These include inspection of on-going construction of houses and the endorsement of 35 houses by UN-Habitat to NHA for formal inspection, a necessary step before the turn-over of houses to qualified displaced families under the Rebuilding Marawi Project.
During the meeting, the 30 HOAs, organized under UN-Habitat’s Rebuilding Marawi Project, presented to Secretary del Rosario updates on the on-going shelter construction amid mobility restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The session acknowledged the positive developments as well as key challenges the housing project faced. Among the key challenges is the provision of buildable lots where houses can be constructed. Under the Rebuilding Marawi Project, construction of permanent shelter is led by UN-Habitat on land that will be provided by the Philippine Government through the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).
Due to the challenges in land procurement, other government partners pitched in to share in the government’s commitment to provide land for the project: the National Housing Authority (NHA), the City Government of Marawi, and the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur. More than 1,000 shelter units are targeted to be constructed for qualified displaced families.
Currently, a total of 243 shelter units are being constructed in three sites: in SHFC Phase I Site in Barangay Dulay West, 88 shelter units; in NHA Barangay Kilala Site, 105 shelter units; and NHA Barangay Gadongan Site, 50 shelter units.
According to Mayor Gandamra, the fast tracking of the availability of buildable will immediately start this month of October 2020 since the challenges previously faced on land procurement, particularly on multiple claimants of procured land and dissent from local leaders, had already been resolved.
SHFC Vice President Engr. Felman Gilbang, affirmed the following actions as part of the government’s commitment: commencement of riprapping of the creek in SHFC Phase I in Brgy. Dulay West Site; continued site development in SHFC Phase II in Brgy. Dulay Proper where 40 buildable lots will be available by the end of October 2020, and another 80 buildable lots will be available by November 2020.
Gilbang assured the HOAs that SHFC Phase III in Brgy. Patani will also be simultaneously developed with the on-going site development in the above-mentioned properties.
Datu Bla Macabando, President of Barakallah HOA, said, “Marami sa mga members ng mga HOAs naming ay nangungupahan at yung iba ay nakatira sa mga kamag-anak nila kaya importante talaga na maipatayo ang mga bahay namin. Matagal na kaming naghihintay. Kailangan talaga namin ng lupa na pagpapatayuan ng mga bahay namin.
Sabihin nyo lang sa amin, sa partnership ito, kung ano ang pwede naming maitulong sa inyo, sabihin ninyo lang sa amin para tulong-tulong tayo para mapabilis ang pagpapatayo ng mga bahay namin.” (“Majority of our HOAs members are renting the places where they live, or they live with their relatives. It is highly important for our houses to be built. We need land where they can be built. We have been waiting for a long time for our houses to be built. Just let us know, in this partnership, how our HOAs can be of help to you, just let us know so we can help and together we can build the houses fast. “)
Given the challenging post-siege and Covid-19 context of Marawi City, UN-Habitat continues to exert efforts to address the need of the IDPS for permanent shelter.
According to Warren C. Ubongen, UN-Habitat Project Manager, “The HOAs under the Rebuilding Marawi Project had shown patience amidst all these challenges and they have been actively working with UN-Habitat to find solutions on how we can overcome the various challenges. They have formed partnerships, such as with the 55th Engineering Brigade in site development and house construction; we have adopted the steel frame technology just to fast-track the shelter construction in the sites where there are buildable lots. We negotiated to bring in partners who can contribute to moving us towards our goal of providing more than 1,000 permanent shelters to the displaced families under the Rebuilding Marawi Project. We can only do so much. Unless there are actual buildable lots, we cannot build the houses.
“We are under time constraints as we abide by the agreements with the donor, the Japanese Government and the People of Japan, who have granted a second extension of the project until March 2021”.
While the shelter construction moves forward amid current challenges, the livelihood component of the Rebuilding Marawi Project continues to contribute in restoring the economy of Marawi City with 33 cooperatives engaging in various enterprises and businesses — transport service, water refilling station, printing shop, groceries, and rice wholesale and retailing, among others. Access to capital for individual/group income-generating projects is also being provided through the Islamic Micro-Finance System.
UN-Habitat had just recently completed its Covid-19 Emergency Response for the City of Marawi where it provided personnel protective equipment (PPEs), disinfectant supplies and handwashing facilities.
A satellite market and mobile stores were deployed to remote communities to address food insecurity during strict community quarantine. Backyard gardening was promoted through vegetable farming and vegetable seeds distribution. It also provided computer equipment and server to support the strengthening of the Incident Command Center (ICC) operations of the city. (JIJ)