Palace assures Marawi rehab to respect religious belief of residents

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/27 November) – Efforts to rebuild Marawi City will be in accordance with the religious belief of its residents, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured Monday.

In a media briefing at the presidential guest house, Roque said this was the commitment made by retired general Eduardo del Rosario, chair of the Housing and Urban Development and Coordinating Council and head of Task Force Bangon Marawi, an interagency task force for the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi.

“(Retired) General Del Rosario also committed that the process of rebuilding will be done with very close coordination and consultation with the people. He promised in fact that the rebuilding of Marawi will be pursuant to the religious faith of the residents of Marawi,” he said.  

Half a year later members of the Ulama League and representatives of the sultanates of Ranao view the destruction of the surrounding areas from the top of the Jameo Mindanao Al-Islamie, also known as Islamic Center or Grand Mosque in Marawi City on 24 November 2017, their first visit in six months. The mosque was used by the IS-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups as their “command center” and “snipers’ nest.” Government took control of the area on August 24. Ground Zero visits were organized by the military for various sectors in the last two weeks. MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

Last October 27, Malacañang issued Administrative Order No. 9, amending AO No. 3, which created the inter-agency task force.

Roque said the government will turn over the first 500 temporary shelters to the displaced Marawi residents by mid-December in addition to the 500 nipa huts already donated by nongovernment organizations.

“Now, on the recovery efforts, they are going to flatten the most affected area. And as I said, they will widen infrastructure, four lane roads, promenade; it’s going to be a major tourist destination,” he said.

The 5-month Marawi siege staged by the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group affected at least 55 of the city’s 96 barangays.

Roque said residents who have land titles will be allowed to rebuild while those without titles will have to wait until the Armed Forces of the Philippines determines how much land they require since most of the affected areas fall under a military reservation.

But he added that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has asked the military and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to hasten the survey of the area.

“Now, the President had ordered the AFP to finalize how much land they would require so the excess land can be given to the residents of Marawi,” he said.

The spokesperson added the residents will have to apply for the land titles. He said residents who can prove that portions of the area are within their ancestral domain may apply for a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title as provided for in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.

“So that’s the status, if you have land title, then you will have to await until structures have been flattened out then you can return to your place. If part of property was taken for building of the expanded road then you would be paid just compensation,” he said.

The battle of Marawi started last May 23 when the Maute Group engaged security forces in an urban warfare that forced the government to deploy thousands of troops and use aerial and artillery bombardment.

On the same day, Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao which was supposed to end on July 22 but was extended until December 31 this year.

Last October 16, government forces killed two leaders of the militant group – Omar Maute and Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, the so-called emir of the ISIS in Southeast Asia. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)