Mosque where hostages were kept during Marawi siege to be demolished

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 16 July) — The iconic Dansalan Bato Ali mosque where Islamic State-inspired militants held their hostages during the five-month Marawi siege in 2017, will be demolished on Monday.

The mosque was heavily damaged by the fighting. A bomb created a huge hole from the roof down to its basement.

The bombed-out Dansalan Bato Ali Mosque in this photo taken April 15, 2019. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

“It is so structurally damaged that it is impossible to rebuild it. We have to demolish the mosque and build a new one,” said Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, Task Force Bangon Marawi chair.

Del Rosario said the family of Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra and the 21 sultans of Dansalan (old name of Marawi) have given the approval to demolish the mosque.

He said the new structure will cost P105 million with the money coming from the contractors involved in the planned rehabilitation of Marawi.

“We could not have done this (rebuilding of the mosque) if this is government-funded because the Commission on Audit would never allow this,” he said.

He said that aside from Dansalan Bato Ali Mosque, the task force is eyeing to demolish Jamie’O Mindanao Al Islami or the Grand Mosque, Disomangcop Mosque, Sultan Macabando Mosque, Sheik Abdul Rahman Pacasum Mosque or the White Mosque, and the Masjid Darussalam.

Del Rosario said they are hoping the demolition of the Grand Mosque would follow once the negotiations with its administrators would succeed.

Father Teresito Soganub points at the Dansalan Bato Ali Mosque on October 18, 2019 where Islamic State-inspired militants held him and other Marawi residents hostage during the siege. MindaNews file photo by FROILAN GALLARDO

He said they prepared a budget of P900 million for the rebuilding of the mosques but only have P300 million on hand.

He said Maranao architects were hired to design the new mosques with provisions that their owners would have a free hand to change it to their satisfaction.

Sultan Nasser Sampaco, who was among those who approved the demolition of the Dansalan Bato Ali Mosque said the structure was built in the 1950s.

During Martial Law, Sampaco said the mosque was burned to the ground and the land was converted into a cemetery.

“It took many years to rebuild it through donations from our community,” he said.

He said the reconstruction was finished in 1980. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)