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Marawi still a ghost town 2 years after siege ended

MANILA, Philippines — Why is Marawi City still a ghost town more than two years after its liberation?

Otso Diretso senatorial candidate Erin Tañada on Sunday wondered why thousands of displaced residents of Marawi City remained in temporary shelters despite billions of pesos spent by the government to rehabilitate the insurgency-racked city.

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“Why are the residents still kept from returning to their homes? Why is the government not helping them rebuild their homes and their livelihood?” the former Quezon representative said in a statement.

Residents can’t go home yet

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Tañada visited Marawi with fellow Otso Diretso candidate Samira Gutoc, a Marawi civic leader and peace advocate, on Thursday.

He observed that the city “remains a ghost town” after talking to displaced residents in temporary shelters “who all wanted to return home.”

“From what I saw, there has hardly been any change at ground zero. The houses, commercial establishments, government offices, mosques remain in rubbles. Where are the billions of pesos in rehabilitation funds allocated to rebuild Marawi?” Tañada said.

There are 24 barangays across the most affected area in Marawi City, also dubbed as the 250-hectare ground zero.

As of April 2018, he said the government had released about P5.2 billion for rehabilitation efforts of the once commercial and cultural capital.

“The plans to rebuild Marawi look good but the affected must be part of the plans to rebuild their homes and their city. They should be part of the actual rebuilding of their lives and livelihood,” he said.

But the government task force leading the program said the rehabilitation of Marawi city was not delayed and neither had it been left to become a “ghost town.”

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December 2021 target

“With regard to our timetable of completion, there is no delay. We are still confident that by December 2021, the rehabilitation of Marawi City will be almost complete,” the Task Force Bangon Marawi chair, Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, told a press conference.

“In any calamity, early recovery activities take six months to a year,” Del Rosario said.

See the bigger picture with the Inquirer's live in-depth coverage of the election here https://inq.ph/Election2019

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TAGS: “Otso Diretso”, 2019 elections, 2019 senatorial candidates, Eduardo del Rosario, Erin Tañada, Marawi rehabilitation, Samira Gutoc
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