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Marawi relocation road network still uncompleted beyond sched

Marawi City, Philippines
November 26, 2017
Homes in the Tent City for Maranao evacuees. Do these concrete structures mean evacuees accommodated here have to spend all their lifetime here? What will happen to their original abode in the city? (RSP)

The Department of Public works and Highways (DPWH) said on November The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said it would complete the road network at the relocation site in Marawi City by Nov. 25.

DPWH Secretary Mark Villar told the media they are committed to finish the road network within the relocation site at Barangay Sagonsongan here before the end of the month.

But as of this writing, the road network is still under construction and officials blamed bad weather for the delay.

Earlier, the Task Force Bangon Marawi said that within next month, it would turn over 500 to 600 relocation housing units to evacuees in the relocation area. This however is doubtful according to one evacuee who requested anonymity.

Last month (October), evacuees at the Buru-un evacuation center in Iligan City told the media that local officials visited them in September and informed them they would be able to transfer to Sagonsongan “next month” (October).

Reports said more than 350,000 people 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.

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.

Meanwhile, 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.

“Helping the needy should not be politicized. If the help is sincere it should not be affected by politics,” he added. (With reports from agencies)

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