MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 31 January) — President Rodrigo Duterte said on Tuesday the government will compensate landowners who will be affected by the construction of a new military camp overlooking thie country’s lone Islamic city and Lake Lanao.
Duterte made this announcement after he led the groundbreaking ceremonies of the proposed military camp at the old City Hall in Barangay Kapantaran.
“I am going to set a camp here but I will pay you. This is a military reservation pero may mga may-ari naman ng lupa. O sige na lang, kung anong makukuha nila di bayaran na lang” (but some claim ownership of the lands here. It’s okay, we will just pay for it), Duterte said.
“We will pay para walang gulo” (to avoid trouble), Duterte added.
It is not clear how many houses or business establishments in the proposed military camp will be affected.
There is an existing military camp in Marawi — Campo Ranaw — which is home to the 103rd Infantry Brigade.
Army Chief Lt. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, told MindaNews on Wednesday that a battalion under the 103rd will occupy the new military camp. “No new division will be deployed or moved to Marawi,” he said.
Duterte arrived here Tuesday afternoon, his first visit since he declared Marawi “liberated from the terrorist influence” on October 17, for the ground breaking of the the proposed camp and to look at the development of the relocation sites in Barangay Sagonsongan, also in this city.
Duterte said he will continue to fund the reconstruction of Marawi, concentrating on agriculture and reviving its business economy.
“We try to build a new city. I guarantee you for the remaining years there will always be money for you, that you will be able to rehabilitate your business kung talaga gusto lang ninyo. Pagandahin ninyo ang Marawi and welcome everybody,” Duterte said.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque earlier that day told a press briefing that the President had directed the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to sped up the process of identifying the affected landowners.
Presidential Proclamation 453 signed by then President Elpidio Quirino in Dec. 23, 1953 declared 6,667.1625 hectares in the former Camp Keithley in Dansalan (former name of Marawi City) as a military reservation site.
Several residents of Marawi City, however, were able to obtain land tiles in the military reservation, making it a headache for the national government.
Roque remained upbeat with the construction of the relocation houses in Barangay Sagonsongan saying he is optimistic that 50 percent of the houses will be completed before May 23, the first year anniversary of the Marawi siege.
“We are on track and ahead of schedule,” Roque told reporters in Barangay Sagonsongan.
Roque said they have finished the construction of 1,149 houses out of the 6,400 houses to be constructed in Barangay Sagonsongan.
He said 150 families have already been given their temporary homes at Area 4 in Barangay Sagonsongan.
President Duterte witnessed the “symbolic turnover of houses” to an affected resident last Tuesday.
Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., head of Task Force Marawi said they have cleared 40 percent of the 225-hectare “Ground Zero,” now referred as “Main Affected Area (MAA)” of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and unexploded ordnance (IEDs).
Brawner said they have recovered 700 IEDs from the MAA since Marawi City’s liberation. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)