Palafox: Good urban plan for Marawi to attract investors

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 21 Nov) – Prominent Filipino architect Felino Palafox Jr. said a good master plan would attract new investors to Marawi City.

Buildings lay in ruins after the five-month battle to retake Marawi City from ISIS-inspired terrorists. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

In an interview during the first public consultation on the Metro Davao Urban Master Plan Project at the SMX Convention Center Davao Monday, Palafox said he has recommended to government that some of the war-damaged areas in Marawi will be preserved as “a remembrance and an urban laboratory for mistakes it made in developing a city.”

Palafox said the urban planners could draw inspiration from Hiroshima in Japan, which has continued to receive a number of tourists despite being annihilated by an atomic bomb.

The architect proposed to build new city centers in Marawi and even envisioned new cities around the scenic Lake Lanao, similar to Lake Geneva that is bounded on both sides by Switzerland and France, and comparable to the “best cities in the world – safer, sustainable, Islamic, international, inclusive, smarter, more resilient, more environment-friendly like no overhead wires.”

“Even in Marawi, I’m so confident with planned new cities around Lanao Lake, like Lake Geneva, I think investors will come. Marawi is one of the most naturally endowed beautiful cities in world. We can have mountain communities, lake front communities connected by cable cars,” he said.

Palafox said the way the government handles the situation in Marawi is way better compared to previous administrations because a clearly defined chain of command, headed by Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson Eduardo del Rosario, has been set.

Architect Felino Palafox Jr. Photo courtesy of PIA

He said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana personally sought his help in the rehabilitation of Marawi that was destroyed by nearly five months of armed clashes between the military and the Islamic State-inspired Maute Group.

The battle of Marawi started last May 23 after the Maute Group attacked the city. Immediately after the armed clashes broke out, President Rodrigo R. Duterte declared martial law in Mindanao, which was supposed to end on July 22. Four days before it would lapse, Duterte announced he was extending its implementation until December 31, and got Congress’s nod.

Last October 16, or after nearly five months of combat operations, the military killed Abu Sayyaf Group leader Isnilon Hapilon, the emir of the ISIS in Southeast Asia, along with Omar Maute.

Palafox said he encouraged developers in Metro Manila to invest in Marawi.

“Now is the time to invest in Marawi,” he said.

Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) chair Abul Khayr Alonto said government collaborates with Palafox in rebuilding a new “Metro Marawi” that is people-centered, resource-efficient, and sustainable.

Alonto said Mindanao has enough resources to alleviate itself from poverty.

“It’s matter of proper expectation and exploration and management. It’s more than enough to pay for whatever we can spend for the next 5 to 10 years for the development, particularly in Mindanao,” he said.

“We have to pull Mindanao out of the quagmire of poverty and ignorance. But to do this we have to be united, we have to work the full engagement of the community leaders, government and private to support this initiative from the efforts of the President,” he said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)