Displaced Marawi folk call for scrapping of task force
ILIGAN CITY –– Leaders of civil society organizations and internally displaced people (IDP) of Marawi City has called on President Duterte to dissolve the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) for failing to ensure their earliest return to their homes and communities.
“The TFBM failed in everything. It is useless and should be dissolved,” said Tirmizy Abdullah of the Ranaw Civil Society Organizations.
Abdullah said the task force failed to restore basic public utilities, among others.
TFBM was created to coordinate efforts by various government agencies to rehabilitate the city following its destruction from the five-month-long war against Islamic State militants in 2017.
It is headed by Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario.
After a series of groundbreaking rites last December, the various infrastructure projects that comprise the package of measures to rehabilitate the ruined city has not yet taken off as of this reporting.
In a joint statement, civil society and IDP leaders asked Duterte to establish another body “to look into the deeper issues of Marawi’s rehabilitation, beyond the physical infrastructure …”
They also pointed to “also look into issues of implementation of an ambitious roadmap that required enormous sums of money.”
“We hope to see a Marawi rehab body that has clout over implementing agencies, and is proactive and responsive to legitimate concerns of the affected people through a built-in mechanism for citizen participation and oversight,” the statement read.
Clamor for home
Angry at the slow progress of the government’s rehabilitation effort, displaced Marawi residents have clamored anew that they be allowed to go back to the city so they could rebuild their lives.
“Just let us go home and build our houses. Give us the money you have earmarked for us and we will forget everything,“ said Drieza Lininding, chair of the Moro Consensus Group.
Lininding said Marawi’s internally displaced people (IDPs) are disgusted that they are not yet allowed to go back to their homes in the MAA which comprise 24 barangays, where the battle between government troops and Islamic State militants transpired.
He said many still lived under squalid conditions in various temporary shelters that were set up by the government.
Lininding lamented at “government’s failure to ensure our dignified return to our war-ravaged communities in Marawi City.”
“It has been exactly 1,004 days since we were uprooted from our homes to escape the war spawned by a siege on Marawi by militants espousing violent extremism,” read the statement from the IDPs.
They noted that “there are still walls of uncertainties that bar us from going back and rebuilding our lives.”
The MAA is heavily guarded by soldiers who regulate the entry of people and construction materials. Only those who have either building or demolition permits are allowed inside.
Marawi’s City Building Officer Engineer Almira Campong said that of the 3,072 families who applied for a building permit as of February 19, 1,475 complied with the requirements, and 482 got approval.
Of the 482, some have started work to rebuild their houses while some said they waited for available funds to begin construction.
Campong added that some 1,597 building permit applications were pending because of either land dispute or some issues in land titles.
Lininding thought that the implementation of the government’s rehab roadmap for Marawi could go full steam alongside the rebuilding of private homes.
Lininding echoed the IDPs’ sentiments that their continuing inability to go back to their communities, without conditions, is like rubbing salt to their wounds.
“We are (already) faced with the difficulty of coming to terms with the reality of returning to a devastated city. For all its flaws, Marawi, or the Dansalan of old, was an irreplaceable heritage bequeathed to us by our forebears,” Lininding pointed out.
No basic utilities
Marawi resident Sittie Hajar Ibrahim said he was now rebuilding his house in Barangay Tolali, but was spending his money on it.
“There is no electricity, no water, and our money is running out,” Ibrahim said as she and 40 women waited for the senators to pass through their village last Friday.
Marawi Sultan Hamidullah Atar said the government should also compensate the families of civilians, who died during the five-month fighting to retake the city from IS militants.
TFBM Chair Eduardo del Rosario said the reconstruction of Marawi is handicapped by the non-passage by Congress of the proposed P20.05 billion compensation fund./lzb
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