MANILA, July 31 — The government is already developing an 11-hectare location in Marawi that will accommodate transitional shelters for persons displaced by the armed conflict in the city, an official from the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said on Monday, July 31.
During the Mindanao Hour press briefing in Malacañan, OCD Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima said the proposed area is located in Barangay Sagunsungan, Marawi City.
“Now, meron na hong ground development na ginagawa ang DPWH dito sa area. Bukas, pupunta ang sub-committee on housing para tingnan kung paano pa ma-improve ‘yung area na ‘yun,” said Purisima who is also the spokesperson of Task Force Bangon Marawi, which supervises the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi.
Purisima said they have yet to build shelters in the area since it still has to go through evaluation from other concerned government agencies like the National Housing Authority (NHA).
He said his office is in full coordination with internally displaced persons (IDPs) whether they prefer to live in tents or in transitional shelters in respect of their “cultural sensitivities.”
Purisima said the report on Rapid Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (RDANA) for Marawi City will be released this week and will become the basis of post-conflict needs assessments (PCNA), which is vital for the city’s rehabilitation and reconstruction.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr., however, said the priority is still the clearing of Marawi City and other affected localities of unexploded ordinance before the government can start a full-blown recovery and rehabilitation.
“Previously, we were hitting about 50 or more than a hundred per day. But unfortunately, as we get into the main battle area, the complexity of clearing operations becomes all the more compounded,” Padilla said.
“Primarily because of many more unexploded ordinance. In fact, our EODs are putting their lives at risk, very much at risk, because of this very careful and very tedious task,” he added.
He also appealed to Marawi City residents for more patience stressing their safety is more important than allowing them to return home while it’s not completely safe.
Padilla also clarified that those who were allowed to return are residents of communities outside Marawi. Non-Marawi City residents living around Lake Lanao were the only ones permitted to go back home.
IDPs from Marawi City who desire to stay with their relatives in other municipalities along Lake Lanao can still receive relief assistance from government, he said.
According to Padilla, the Mindanao State University (MSU) is also not resuming its operations because of the dangers that threaten the MSU staff and students.
The military and the MSU management agreed that the university will only resume operations once the city is cleared of all the dangers, he said.
Also, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Menardo Guevarra reported that as of 7 p.m. July 30, there is a total of 491 enemies killed in Marawi.
Government forces have so far recovered 584 firearms and rescued 1,724 civilians. They were also able to clear 23 buildings on July 29, and 15 structures on July 30, Guevarra said.
He said cash donations for AFP casualties also continue to pour in as the amount stands at PHP108,044,253.23 as of July 28. Donations to IDPs on the other hand now amount to P850,515.21.