CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 14 December) — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana is sending an investigator to Marawi City to look into the complaints on setting up a second military camp at that at the site of the ofl City Hall.
“We will send an investigator kung ano talaga ang damadamin ng mga tao. Kung talagang ayaw nila, di hindi namin ipipilit (to determine the real feelings of the people. If they don’t like it, we will not force it), Lorenzana told the state-run Radyo Pilipinas on Wednesady.
He said they would look for another site within Marawi City. “Doon kami maghanap sa ibang lugar sa loob ng Marawi City. Wala namang probelma dyan. So we will heed their call kung talagang reasonable yung call nila,” Lorenzana added.
Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chair Eduardo Del Rosario had earlier said the military plans to set up a ten-hectare military camp on the west side of Marawi, at the site of the old City Hall.
President Duterte had in fact already graced the groundbreaking rites for this new camp at the Old City Hall in Marawi City on January 30 last year.
Del Rosario said the new camp which will house an Army battalion will provide an additional security for Marawi City to prevent a repetition of 2017 when hundreds of Maute-ISIS militants laid siege on the city.
The proposed camp will be the second military installation in the city.
The other camp, Kampo Ranao, the headquarters of the Army 103rd Infantry Brigade, is located on the east side of Marawi City beside the Lanao del Sur provincial capitol complex.
The proposed plan has been met with stiff opposition from the Marawi residents who said it would create more animosity and hostility against the military.
Marawi residents have criticized the establishment of the new camp saying that the money that would be spent for it should be given to affected residents who have yet to return to the former Main Battle Area (MBA).
Meranaw groups have gathered more than 100,000 signatures from residents who signified they are against the establishment of a new camp.
The provincial board of Lanao del Sur and Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr., added their voice to the opposition of a second military camp in Marawi City.
The Bangsamoro Transition Authority of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao and the Marawi City government also passed resolutions opposing the establishment o a second military camp. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)