Army builds model houses for Marawi relocation

John Unson - The Philippine Star

LANAO DEL SUR, Philippines – Army engineers started yesterday the construction of model houses of temporary shelters for displaced residents of Marawi City.

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. of the Western Mindanao Command told The STAR that personnel of the 54th Engineer Brigade are building two model houses in Barangay Sagongsongan in Marawi.

Engineers from the Department of Public Works and Highways Region 10 led by Abdulracman Paunte are assisting the military in building model houses for the soon to be returning evacuees.

The model house is a steel structure with a 26-square-meter floor area that could accommodate at least two to three small families.

The other model is a 4x6-meter building made of lumber with an elevated floor and galvanized roofing.

“We are expecting these model houses to be fully constructed a week from now,” Galvez said Saturday.

The shelter project for evacuees, whose houses were either burned or destroyed as a consequence of the hostilities between Maute terrorists and the military, is part of Malacañang’s post-conflict rehabilitation program for Marawi City.

Marawi is the capital of Lanao del Sur, a component province of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

The 11-hectare relocation area for the evacuees in Barangay Sagongsongan will be divided into five housing sites, according to Galvez.

Task Force Bangon Marawi spokesman Kristoffer James Purisima said the government would soon construct the “transitional shelters” for thousands of evacuees.

“Again, what will be provided to the IDPs (internally displaced persons) are not tents, but transitional shelters,” he said at the regular Mindanao Hour in Malacañang yesterday.

Purisima, also a deputy secretary at the Office of Civil Defense, said there are 104,000 displaced families or 467,000 persons.

The task force is conducting Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) and Post Conflict Needs Assessment to determine the exact needs for the rebuilding of Marawi City. The assessment and analysis report will be ready within the week.

The rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi will start as soon as the fighting ends.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Bangon Marawi is now on its post-disaster assessment stage with Undersecretary Cesar Yano as the person in charge.

He said local government units, departments and local officials like governors, mayors and sultanates are being organized as “they will also have a say on the rehabilitation.”

“Our priority is to bring back the infrastructure, the roads, the bridges. And then clearing the area and bringing back evacuees whose homes were not destroyed,” Lorenzana said yesterday.

As for those whose houses were destroyed, particularly in the central business district of Marawi City, he said temporary housing will be built until evacuees can return to their homes after repair or rebuilding for those beyond repair.

Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial vowed to improve the healthcare system of Marawi City once the fighting ends.

“There are many health impacts of this armed conflict and we hope it will be over soon so that we can start rebuilding Marawi build back better. We are laying down the rehabilitation plan for Marawi,” she noted during a forum.

Ubial said over 30,000 residents are staying in evacuation centers while some 400,000 others are staying in the houses of relatives. 

She assured the people that there is no outbreak of disease in the 87 evacuation centers set up for the evacuees.

The conflict had resulted in various health impacts that include the displacement of people, deaths, diseases, injuries, disabilities, damage to health facilities, interruption of health services and depletion of health resources. – With Christina Mendez, Michael Punongbayan, Sheila Crisostomo

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