Robredo: Listen to Marawi residents on rebuilding efforts
Vice President Leni Robredo urged the government to listen to Marawi residents as it continues its rehabilitation efforts in the lakeside town.
AP/Bullit Marquez, File
Robredo: Listen to Marawi residents on rebuilding efforts
Audrey Morallo ( - May 23, 2018 - 5:35pm

MANILA, Philippines — As the Philippines commemorates the anniversary of the siege of Marawi, Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday urged the government to listen to the voice of the town’s residents in its rehabilitation efforts and expressed support for the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law.

Robredo said that her office supported the government’s rehabilitation efforts by establishing an Angat Buhay village in Sagongsongan, Marawi, which would serve as a transitory shelter pending the construction of their permanent accommodations.

“We also recognize that aside from structures and lives that were destroyed the voice of Marawi residents should be protected in rehabilitation efforts. The voice of affected communities is the most important voice to consider,” she said in Filipino in a statement as the nation marks the first anniversary of the siege of the lakeside town.

An analysis by Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism showed that the master plan for the rebuilding of the city has yet to be formalized and was framed in loose procurement rules and shortcuts.

It also showed that one problem in the government’s rehabilitation was its on-off and token consultations with affected communities, as shown by the criticism of a group of local residents of the reported plan of authorities to convert the city to a military reserve and an economic zone.

Robredo also stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of terrorism by implementing anti-poverty measures and respecting the Bangasamoro people’s culture and identity.

“All of us, whether civilians or soldiers, Marawi residents or not, long for a lasting peace in Mindanao. We fully support the enactment of the Bangsamoro Basic Law as a contribution to efforts to attain this lasting peace,” Robredo said.

Bangsamoro Basic Law, federalism

The BBL and the shift to a federal form of government are two of the priorities of the Senate and the House following their return from their break last week.

Senate leaders have already written to President Rodrigo Duterte to certify the BBL as an urgent measure amid concerns that Congress does not have enough time to pass the bill into law.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez expressed on Monday the lower chamber’s willingness to certify House Bill 6475 as urgent.

Malacañang said on Tuesday that Duterte would certify the measure as urgent “anytime soon.”

Senate Bill 1717 seeks to establish the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region and to replace the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

Robredo also thanked soldiers, especially those who died, for their sacrifice in fighting to liberate Marawi City, where more than 250,000 residents were affected and displaced by the five months long battle.

“Even though the fighting has already ceased, the fight for the residents to return to their normal lives and livelihood remains. Many families still don’t have permanent houses and decent livelihoods. Many residents are in need of aid,” the vice president said.

Maute group militants inspired by the Islamic State group tried to take over the city and convert it to the capital of the terror organization’s province in Southeast Asia.

The battle between the militants and the military, the longest in the country’s history since World War II, decimated much of the city’s central business district.

READ: Hearings into Marawi siege cause, rehabilitation sought

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