UN housing agency builds 1,000 homes in Marawi

UN housing agency builds 1,000 homes in Marawi
This photo taken on May 23, 2021 shows workers walking along a newly paved road past homes which were destroyed in 2017 when Islamic State-inspired Muslim militants laid siege to the southern Philippine city of Marawi, resulting in a five-month campaign that claimed more than 1,000 lives until government troops re-took control.
AFP / Ferdinandh Cabrera

MANILA, Philippines — A thousand houses have been turned over to internally displaced families affected by the Marawi siege, the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) said Thursday.

The last 462 permanent houses were awarded on Thursday’s handover event, marking the end of UN-Habitat’s four-year engagement in the war-torn city.

Through the Japanese government’s $10-million funding support, the houses were built on land procured and developed by the Social Housing Finance Corporation and the National Housing Authority.

Oling Manalao, one of the beneficiaries of houses built by the UN agency, said the project helped internally displaced persons regain their confidence though trainings and meetings.

Before pro-Islamic State militants laid siege to Marawi, the 1,000 families lived within the three to six meters easement along the Agus River and Lake Lanao—areas officially categorized by the government as “no dwell zone” and other areas that were affected by development projects within the post-war ground zero.

Internally displaced persons have been living in tents, transitory shelters, with relatives or with friends or renting within Marawi or in nearby provinces. Others went as far as Metro Manila to find sources of income, the UN-Habitat said.

“The Rebuilding Marawi Project demonstrates that adequate housing is at the center of sustainable development because having an adequate home empowers a family to satisfy its basic needs while providing the space to dream, engage in gainful livelihood, commune with neighbors, and become communities of peace,” said Christopher Rollo, UN-Habitat country programme manager.

The rehabilitation of the southern Philippine city has yet to be completed nearly five years after the fighting between government troops and radical militants left almost its entire commercial center uninhabitable.

Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, who also heads Task Force Bangon Marawi said in February that the rehabilitation program would be “90 to 95%” done by the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term on June 30. — Gaea Katreena Cabico


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