Marawi relocation road network completed by Nov. 25 – DPWH

By Evelyn Macairan

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DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said they are committed to finish the road network within the relocation site at Barangay Sagonsongan, Lanao del Sur before the end of the month. File

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) has targeted to complete the road network at the relocation site in Marawi City by Nov. 25. 

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar said they are committed to finish the road network within the relocation site at Barangay Sagonsongan, Lanao del Sur before the end of the month. 

Heavy equipment from DPWH provincial engineering districts have been redeployed to the area to help in the construction of the transition shelters. 

More than 350,000 people from within and around Marawi City were displaced after fighting broke out between government forces and the Maute group of terrorists.

About 10,000 Marawi residents have been allowed to return so far, mostly those who lived well outside the battle zone.

About 33,000 others whose homes were spared the worst of the war are set to return.

Many of the displaced are living with relatives and friends, but tens of thousands have been forced to live in makeshift evacuation centers.

The DPWH helped in ferrying the evacuees back to their villages in Barangays Loksa Datu, Barrio Green, Poblacion, East Basak, Matampay and Tampilong. 

The DPWH said it would continue to render assistance until all evacuees sheltered in nearby Iligan City and other towns are returned home to Marawi.

Based on the list provided by the city government of Marawi, a total of 4,724 households or 23,859 individuals are expected to return to nine barangays of the war torn city. 

The DPWH is also hastening the construction of transitional shelters in Barangay Sagonsongan to accommodate the incoming evacuees.

Villar had promised to finish the road works in Barangay Sagonsongan by Nov. 25.  

Military operations have cost P5 billion and the government estimates it could cost 10 times that much to rebuild Marawi.

Australia, the United States, Singapore, Russia, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank are among the countries and organizations that have offered to help.

But already close to the front lines of the effort is China, which has donated 47 heavy-duty industrial vehicles, among them excavators, bulldozers, tractors, cement mixers and dump trucks.

Those vehicles are on standby at the port in Iligan City, waiting for the official word to start the task of restoring the country’s only designated Islamic City.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) officer-in-charge Emmanuel Leyco said politics should have no place in the efforts to rehabilitate Marawi City.

Leyco said everyone should focus on helping those affected by the five-month infighting.

“Our ‘Ground Zero’ is in the communities and in the hearts and minds of our affected kababayans in Marawi. Our goal is to extend help as much as we can in their own efforts to recover from the impact and aftermath of the war,” Leyco said.

“Helping the needy should not be politicized. If the help is sincere it should not be affected by politics,” he added.

Leyco said the agency, which heads the early recovery phase of the rehabilitation effort that includes all the basic social services, is ready to provide support to thousands of evacuees.

He said conditions for the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program will be lifted to accommodate the needs of the evacuees in Marawi. 

Leyco said an assessment will be conducted to identify programs of the department that can be utilized for the affected families.

“How large is the extent of the impact of this conflict? If the people lost their self-confidence and their trust in organizations, I hope that they continue to believe in our government. Our goal is to bring them back to their normal lives,” Leyco said.

Latest monitoring showed that over 6,400 families have already returned to their homes. They received rice and food packs good for three weeks from the DSWD. –  With Janvic Mateo

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