MANILA -- Marawi City is not a "ghost city", in fact it should be described as "full of economic activity", Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chairperson and housing czar Eduardo del Rosario said on Tuesday.
Del Rosario dismissed an article published in the Washington Post describing Marawi as a ghost city nearly two years after the armed conflict between government troops and the ISIS-inspired Maute group took place, noting that it was off-tangent with the actual situation on the ground.
It seems like it is off-tangent with the truth and what is really happening in Marawi City. When you say 'ghost city', what comes to mind is that nothing is happening and that is has been abandoned by government, which is not true, del Rosario said in a press briefing in MalacaAang.
Del Rosario, who said that the article negatively dramatized Marawi City pointed out that traffic there has even worsened because of economic activity and movement of people.
He noted that the writer of the article might have only been referring to the most affected area in Marawi City, that is only 250 hectares and is just a small portion of the total area of 8,000 hectares.
Still on track
Del Rosario also bared that the task force is still on track to complete the rehabilitation of Marawi City by December 2021.
However, he said that it remains a challenge to get consent of the residents to allow their houses to be demolished.
As January of 2019, del Rosario said a total of 2,000 temporary shelter units were already constructed for residents displaced by the Marawi siege.
Del Rosario said the task force is targeting to have 4,000 to 4,500 temporary shelter units by yearend and complete debris management not later than August or September this year.
Meanwhile, del Rosario said that rehabilitation for Marawi City will now be known as the R.I.S.E. plan of the Marawi Rehabilitation where R.I.S.E. stands for resiliency, identity, sustainability and evolution.
Following the ratification of the Bangsamoro Organic Law (BOL), del Rosario said that agreements signed within the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) will be respected by the new Bangsamoro region and will not affect its policies.
I think it will not affect at all. Just the same leadership, but the policies will be the same, said del Rosario, adding that BARMM leaders have already expressed interest to engage with the task force.
Del Rosario added that the security sector also continues to ensure efforts to prevent the Maute Group from reentering the city.
The rehabilitation of Marawi City was allocated an overall budget of PHP67.99 billion. Of that amount, PHP41.81 billion has been raised by government, according to Finance Assistant Secretary Tony Lambino.
Source: Philippines News Agency