Residents of war-ravaged Marawi City will have to wait even longer before they can return, as the rebuilding of its ‘ground zero’ has again been postponed.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the rehabilitation of the battle-ruined area had been set for Wednesday (October 17), the first anniversary of the city’s liberation from an Islamic State-inspired terrorist uprising.
However, the start date has now been pushed back to October 28 because President Duterte was unable to attend the ground-breaking ceremony this week.
Speaking today (Monday, October 15), Eduardo Del Rosario, the chairman of Task Force Bangon Marawi, said: “If the president could not make it on October 17, we are open to have it one week later.
“But we are doubling our efforts for the preparation of the ground-breaking activity. And the president’s presence is very important.”
Originally scheduled for June, the rehabilitation of the ravaged city has been postponed several times due to failures of negations with developers.
Despite continued delays, officials remain confident that the rebuilding process will be finished by the end of 2021.
The government has chosen Philippine company FINMAT International alongside Beijing-based Power Construction Corporation of China to undertake the 17-billion peso rehabilitation project in Marawi’s “most affected area”. This encompasses 24 barangays across 250 hectares of land. This area was also the city’s commercial, civic and religious hub. In total, Marawi is made up of 96 barangays.
Some 300,000 residents were displaced, while countless houses and buildings were flattened. More than 900 terrorists, 47 civilians and 165 government troops were killed during the five-month siege.
The first stage of the rehabilitation will involve clearing debris in a pilot area, which alone will cost 75 million pesos and involve careful screening for unexploded ordinance.
Only then will contractors be able to begin construction of roads and buildings. These will include 320 classrooms, 24 barangay centres, a convention centre, central market, “school for living tradition” and a four-storey car park.
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