Moro group wants jobs, housing for Marawi folk
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY—If the government is really keen on fast-tracking the reconstruction of war-torn Marawi City, the affected residents must be allowed to actively take part in the decision-making process, a Maranao leader said on Tuesday.
“The key is the direct participation of the people in the rebuilding of Marawi,” said Drieza Lininding, chair of the civil society organization Moro Consensus Group.
At least 240,000 individuals fled Marawi when Islamic State-inspired militants went on a rampage last May 23.
Five months after the siege, most of the city’s commercial areas are in ruins. Even the relatively well-off families have been reduced to being internally displaced persons (IDPs), dependent on aid from government agencies and private aid groups.
Lininding said the IDPs of Marawi must have a say in government-led efforts to help them get back on their feet, even as they were raring to move back to their communities in Marawi.
For instance, instead of requiring IDPs to live in transitional shelters, Lininding said it would be best if the government could give them direct financial assistance so they could rebuild their houses as soon as possible.
Lininding said that the amount of financial aid each family could get should be based on the assessed damage to their properties.
This way, the IDPs can restart their lives and, at the same time, the government will have more time to focus on the construction of damaged public infrastructures such as roads, schools and other structures, he said.
“Give them the money and let them build their own homes,” Lininding said.
He pointed out that the temporary shelters were not practical since the IDPs had to go back to the city proper to find work or ply their trade.
He said the sooner the displaced Maranaos could go back to Marawi, the faster the city could return to normalcy.
According to Lininding, IDPs also needed capital to restart their businesses and once the government begins to allocate funds to start their businesses, Marawi will slowly spring back to life.
“If it takes 50 years to rebuild Marawi, give the people capital for the businesses, and its recovery period will be cut short,” he said, responding to architect Felino Palafox Jr.’s rather somber projection that it would take 70 years to restore Marawi to its old grandeur.
Lininding doubted whether it would take that long to rebuild the city since Maranaos—traditionally traders—could be expected to reestablish trade and commerce in Marawi in just three to five years.
Lininding said the Marawi planners should be more concerned with providing capital to the IDPs, who said they wanted to return to their places of origin so they could start life anew.—JIGGER JERUSALEM
Inquirer calls for support for the victims in Marawi City
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