Marawi City, July 22, 2021 – One hundred seventy families displaced by the 2017 Marawi Siege received certificates of house and lot award from the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and its partners: Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC) and National Housing Authority (NHA) during the turnover ceremonies held on July 22, 2021 in Barangay Dulay Proper and in Barangay Mipantao Gadongan in the Islamic City of Marawi. The event was attended by Secretary Eduardo D. del Rosario of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Country Programme Manager Christopher E. Rollo of UN-Habitat, President Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling of SHFC, Mayor Majul U. Gandamra of Marawi City, Atty. Alper John Alcaraz, Chief Corporate Attorney of NHA Region 9 and BARMM.
The permanent houses were built by UN-Habitat through the Rebuilding Marawi through Community-Driven Shelter and Livelihood Project with a USD 10-million funding from the Government of Japan. The 170 houses are in two resettlement sites in Marawi City: 120 houses in Darussalam Village in Barangay Dulay Proper on land acquired and developed by SHFC; and 50 houses within the sprawling land area of Pamayandeg Ranaw Residences at Dansalan in Barangay Mipantao Gadongan through land provided and developed by NHA.
Pre-siege, the 170 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 are well within the post-war Ground Zero/Most Affected Area (MAA). With their houses destroyed by the gun battle between the government forces and pro-Isis militants, life for the 170 families in the past four years since the war ended was spent in tents, transitory shelters, in home-based arrangement (living with relatives or with friends or renting) within Marawi or in nearby provinces while others went as far as Manila to eke out a living as the war destroyed not only their homes but devastated their businesses as well.
UN-Habitat Country Programme Manager, Christopher Rollo, said that;
“As a fitting celebration of Eid al-Adha, we hope that these houses will honor the sacrifice of our home partners who did not passively wait but were active partners in the building of these houses, livelihoods and communities, amidst the many challenges including the COVID-19 pandemic. Together with our partners, we are committed to support the rebuilding of resilient and sustainable communities and improve people’s lives.”
For his part, Atty. Cabling remarked that,
“Today’s milestone fuels our commitment to delivering safe and resilient housing for internally displaced families in support for the full recovery and rehabilitation of Marawi City. Along with the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, SHFC will continue to stand with the people of Marawi in their journey toward peace and normalcy. On behalf of our organization, I would like to thank our partners for tirelessly providing assistance for the fruition of the Marawi Shelter Project.”
In his video message, Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko of the Embassy of Japan thanked UN-Habitat and government partners, and reiterated Japan’s support for Marawi under the Japan-Bangsamoro Initiative for Reconstruction and Development (J-BIRD).
“We still have some ways to go in Marawi as we continue to work on delivering homes for the displaced people. Nevertheless, it is with great hope that through this project and other J-BIRD projects, and Japan’s unfaltering support of the Mindanao Peace Process, Mindanao will gain lasting peace and stability that will propel it, and the Philippines, into a brighter future deserved by all.”
Rocma Imam Dumamba, 63, one of the home-partners who received the certificate today, still remembers the long walk she and her family took to the Municipality of Kapai where they sought refuge in the house of relatives. She stated,
“Pinakamahalaga sa panahon na yun, habang nagpuputukan, na makalabas ng Marawi na buhay. Nasunog man ang bahay at mga gamit namin ay malaking pasasalamat ko ngayon na may sarili na kaming bahay. Ang asawa ko ay may malubhang sakit at nakakain lamang gamit ang tubo – mas makabubuti sa kanya na dito na kami titira at dito sya magpapagaling.” [Translation: What was of primary importance at that time, as gunshots were exchanged, was to get out of Marawi alive. Even if our house and the stuff we left behind were burnt to the ground, I am very grateful that we now have a house we can call our own. My husband is critically ill and could only eat through a tube – it will do him good to live here – this is where he can recuperate.”]
It can be recalled that 109 permanent houses in Marawi Resettlement Site Phase 1: Hadiya Village were turned over by UN-Habitat to 109 displaced families in February 2021 in partnership with SHFC. This brings to a total of 279 permanent houses turned over to families in three out of five resettlement sites where UN-Habitat is constructing houses. Two other resettlement sites are in Barangay Patani in partnership also with SHFC; and in Barangay Kilala in partnership with NHA. A total of 1,057 permanent houses are slated to be completed within the year in all of the project’s construction sites.
Other key partners that contributed to project accomplishments to date are the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Holcim Philippines through their sponsorship in the conduct of Galing Mason Skills Training for local workers who later participated in the project’s shelter construction. Further, a formal partnership between UN-Habitat and Holcim Philippines provided easy access to discounted price of cement that kept the construction of houses going despite the mobility restrictions posed by COVID-19 pandemic. The project also forged a partnership with the 55th Engineer Brigade that resulted to 50 permanent houses constructed by its uniformed personnel in Barangay Kilala.