Tent city plan for Marawi evacuees dropped
DAVAO CITY — A military-led multiagency team formed to help Marawi City rise after the attempt by terrorists to set up an Islamic State (IS) province there is dropping plans to put up a tent city and instead build sturdier structures for residents who lost homes.
An initial batch of 5,000 families have been tagged as beneficiaries.
The decision by Task Force Bangon Marawi came after local officials expressed hesitation to support the tent city proposal.
Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra earlier said providing the displaced with semipermanent structures would give them not only a more decent shelter but also give them privacy.
“It will also make them comfortable because it will be a house,” Gandamra said.
Tents, he said, “would always remind them that they are evacuees.”
Capt. Jo-ann Petinglay, Joint Task Force Marawi spokesperson, said the Army’s 54th Engineering Brigade, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in Northern Mindanao and Marawi City Engineers’ Office had started building two model temporary shelters.
Petinglay said the model houses would serve as templates for the structures that would be built in Sagonsongan, a village in Marawi tagged as a relocation site.
“The models are expected to be done after a week of work,” she said.
Abdulracman Paunte, resident engineer of the DPWH in Northern Mindanao, said the first model being built would be made of steel and wood and have 26 square meters of floor area. The temporary shelters, he said, could accommodate three families each.
Each unit would take at least eight days, Paunte said.
The relocation site in Sagonsongan could accommodate at least 1,000 units.
The shelter site would have communal kitchens, toilets and laundry areas. Power and water supply are being installed, Paunte said.
Lt. Col. Jonjie Juguilon of the 547th Engineering Battalion said that while the model houses were being built, Army engineers were conducting ground works in the area.
Mike Gulem, field engineer of the Marawi City government, said the completion of the entire site was expected by September or October.
Evacuees were tapped for the work to give them a source of income.
A unit would require four workers who could earn up to P15,000.
Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Western Mindanao Command chief, said bringing normalcy to the lives of Marawi residents was a top priority of the military.
The military, he said, would deploy mostly female soldiers for the rehabilitation phase in Marawi.
“Your soldiers will risk their lives not only to make sure that Marawi City would be free from terrorists, but also to speed up rehabilitation, so that shelters would be ready at the soonest possible time,” Galvez added.
The military said it was in the final stages of finishing off members of Maute Group, a homegrown terror organization that had sworn allegiance to IS and tried to establish an IS province in Marawi, a predominantly Muslim city.
Authorities said only two villages and parts of a third village were still being occupied by Maute gunmen. —Allan Nawal
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