CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – After President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to Marawi City on Saturday, affected residents of the siege four years ago are hoping they will be able to return to the Most Affected Area (MAA).
In an interview Sunday, Moro Consensus Group chair Drieza Lininding said there are still about 100,000 residents who are eager to return to their properties at MAA, where most projects are being developed through Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM).
"After residents are returned (to their places in MAA) after four years (since the siege), hopefully the Marawi Compensation Bill will be certified urgent," he said.
Last month, legislation for the compensation of residents of the war-torn city inched closer to approval in the Senate, with Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation Chair Senator Ronald Dela Rosa assuring they will expedite it.
“We will work double time to pass this measure for the people of Marawi,” dela Rosa said during a hearing by the special committee.
The lower house passed its version, House Bill No. 9925, on September 6.
Under the bill, private property owners shall be compensated for loss or destruction based on the current market value.
On Saturday, Duterte led the unveiling of the marker of the recently finished Jameo Mindanao Al-Islamie Masjid, otherwise known as the Grand Mosque.
The President then went to Rizal Park to commemorate the fourth anniversary of Marawi City's liberation from the siege perpetrated by the Maute terrorists.
“Let me take this opportunity to reassure the people of Marawi that the government is doing its best to expedite the completion of rehabilitation projects at the soonest possible time,” Duterte said in his speech.
TFBM-private organization projects
Some families affected by the five-month siege received permanent shelters from the partnership between private organizations and TFBM.
Most of these were distributed prior to Duterte's visit and later presented in a symbolic ceremony at Rizal Park.
Under the Rebuilding Marawi Project of the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat), in partnership with National Housing Authority (NHA), 250 families were awarded with permanent house and lot units on Friday.
One of the beneficiaries, 46-year-old Norjannah Amerol, said it is an opportunity to rebuild part of what they lost in the war.
“This house is a blessing, a symbol that if a person patiently waits Allah will provide His blessings," she said in a statement from UN-Habitat.
Amerol recalled how she feared for the lives of her two sons who chose to stay behind to take care of the family’s belongings, thinking that the gunfight will last for just three days at the most.
One of her sons was hit in one leg by a bullet as he and his brother made their way to the boat by the lake that brought them to safety.
"Four years! Whatever hardships my family went through, those assuaged by this house. I will not let my children be separated from me again. That kind of fear as a mother is something that I do not want to experience again. This is where we will rebuild our lives, together," she said in the vernacular. (PNA)