MY, MY, MY MARAWI:  Billions worth of rehab in Marawi must involve the people

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SENATE, Manila (MindaNews / 21 Feb) — More than funds, more than plans, it is about human beings.

Marawi rehabilitation is about reconciliation. Many cannot accept what has happened and what will happen; they do not even know really what will happen.

“Justice, this is what we demand”, tearfully said 80-year old Meno Manabilang of Marinaut town, the eldest of the group of evacuee resource persons at the Senate hearing by the Sub-Committee on Marawi Housing held yesterday.

He survived the aerial strikes after having stayed in the former war zone for three weeks. Ten billion pesos is proposed for Marawi but the shock came when TFBM (Task Force Bangon Marawi) said  August was the end date for clearing of the Most Affected Area (MAA) .

The residents here have demanded to enter the said Ground Zero to salvage any belongings. The Senate convened a hearing yesterday (video is posted on Sen JV Ejercito FB), first ever called with concerned displaced persons (IDPs) as resource persons with Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra, TBFM, National Housing Authority, Department of Budget and Management, Army Engineering Unit among others.

Housing Committee chairperson Senator Gringo Honasan then emphasized the primacy of information and access. Senator Sherwin Gatchalian also reminded the TFBM and its allied agencies to give data on the damage, profiling of households among others.

TFBM replied that it is the Office of Civil Defense which concluded the post conflicts needs assessment (PCNA) last November. Gatchalian reminded this so they can give educated recommendations.

Such PCNA was reminded by IDP resource persons to contain damage on mosques and madaris. There is no constitutional prohibition we reminded the TFBM against spending on damaged mosques because these are heritage structures. A window of light was heard in that those in the MAA or Most Affected Area will be given time to check out their property remnants. The TFBM which is proponent of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Program (CRRP) was asked of the timelines and allowing of people to return to the MAA.

Mayor Majul Gandamra reported the gradual return back to normalcy for the evacuees who are now staying in the safe zones of Marawi. IDP leaders affirmed no to relocation and right to rebuild and compensation. “Give us that right to rebuild at our own pace,” said Shariah lawyer Padoman Paporo of Teamworks.

The building of a military camp was also questioned. Presiding officer Senator JV Ejercito reminded to bring together all if not opposing views of Marawi rehabilitation planning so that the direction is “right.”

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian, also a former mayor like Ejercito, asked of the profiling of Marawi affected so that all are addressed in giving out shelters. “Treat us as partners,” the TFBM was reminded by Sultan Ali Laguindab.

“Sawa na kami sa sardinas and Other IDP Concerns.” Queenie Pacalundo of Suara Miyagoyagoyag reminded the State’s obligation on delivering on humanitarian relief.

“Umaga, pati sa tulog, sardines ang kinakain.” Pacalundo pleaded for cash assistance and hospital subsidy. The DBM (Department of Budget and Management)  reported it has downloaded such crisis funds to concerned agencies.

This writer representating the Ranao Rescue Team delivered on the need to address and put action on dead and missing persons from the “siege”.

“There will be no true rehabilitation, and it is a PREREQUISITE to such that the dead be buried right and the missing persons be located. Give concerned families peace of mind. Support hostage survivors, support orphans and widows.”

She cited national laws on DRRM (Disaster Risk Reduction and Management), Children in Emergencies to justify the welfare of IDPs. Other resource persons were Pendatun Disimban of ASSALAM, Sultans Hamidullah Atar, Ali Laguindab, Queenie Pacalundo, TOP 90’s Meno Manabilng and private schools leader Matet Tingaraan of Senator Ninoy Aquino College Foundation.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Samira Ali Gutoc-Tomawis, Ll.B., co-founder of the Young Moro Professionals resigned as Commissioner of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission in late May, days after the Marawi Crisis started, citing personal reasons and policy questions. Samira is one of the organizers of the Ranao Rescue Team, a group set up to respond to the crisis. She had earlier served as an  assemblywoman, women sector, of the Regional Legislative Assembly, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, was former director, Al-Amanah Islamic Bank, Inc. and former director of the Marawi Resort Hotel, Inc.)

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