By Divina Suson
MARAWI CITY — Residents living inside the “ground zero” or areas severely destroyed during the Battle of Marawi in 2017 are now allowed to go back to their homes provided that they comply with all the requirements set by the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and the local government.
In a press briefing on Wednesday, Housing Secretary and TFBM Chairman Eduardo del Rosario said residents in Sectors 1, 2 and 3 inside the ground zero or “most affected area” (MAA) may start constructing or repairing their homes and structures after securing the necessary permits.
Del Rosario said Sector 1 residents were allowed to go back to their homes as early as July while those in Sectors 2 and 3 can now start processing their building permits and other requirements at the City Hall.
A total of 6,435 structures were affected during the five-month war against the Dawlah Islamiya in 2017, TBFM said, adding that 4,000 of these are classified as housing and commercial establishments that had to be demolished because the buildings are no longer safe for repair or rehabilitation.
According to del Rosario, 80 percent of the owners of the damaged structures have already given consent for the demolition works being undertaken by the National Housing Authority (NHA).
Demolition is set to be finished by the end of October this year, he said, including the clearing of debris.
“The other 20 percent, they will be the ones to demolish their damaged houses. They will secure a permit from the local government and, if given, then they will be allowed to demolish,” del Rosario said.
“They will not be given building permit unless proven that their structures were not compromised. If it is no longer safe, they will not be given a permit to repair,” he added.
He said those who refuse to grant consent for the government-led demolition and clearing works will have to shoulder the cost themselves.
Del Rosario emphasized that no structure owner will be allowed to construct anything unless they follow the building code.
Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said the approval of building permits would not be easy as there are “overlapping claims” that have to be resolved in courts.
Del Rosario said vertical management works will start in the last quarter of the year as the concerned government agencies are now on the procurement process. There are about 20 vertical projects to be implemented, he said.
Vertical works include installation of power, water and telecommunication lines, construction of schools, market, convention center, hospital and other government facilities.
“Once they are ready and the budget is available, they can start the construction on the last quarter of the year, just in time for the completion of the debris management. Maybe 75 percent of the total will start their construction within the year and the remaining 25 percent will start the construction in the first quarter of 2020,” the TBFM chief said.
He said the local government of Marawi has already submitted its pre-procurement documents for projects such as the construction of barangay halls, the grand central and Padian markets, a promenade, museum, and a peace memorial. (PNA)