MULTIMEDIA

LOOK: Staking a claim in Marawi's ruins

Text and photos by Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2018 07:08 PM

MARAWI CITY - Earlier this year, residents from the most affected area on ground zero of Marawi City were allowed to visit what was left of their homes after the five-month war that virtually decimated the city center.

Facing uncertainty, desperate Marawi residents used tarpaulins and spray paint to put up signs claiming their property.

The signs bearing the names of the landowners are then placed on the walls or roofs of the heavily damaged buildings. 

“We have to put these signs so the government will know we are the owners to this rubble,” said Norsaly Saly, whose family owns three hardware stores and a boarding house.

Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr., Task Force Bangon Marawi Field Manager, said most of the properties in Marawi lay within a military reservation signed by then President Elpidio Quirino in 1953. This statement has scared residents who have invested what they have in Marawi, the place they call home.

Castro said a technical team is sorting the claims of the property owners.

Every family in Marawi City was allowed to visit their properties for three days to retrieve whatever possessions and valuables they can find. But more than the valuables, the value of their land is important.

The entire portion of Marawi on what used to be the main battle area will be demolished starting June.

A resident puts up a sign showing the name of the property owner in Marawi in this photo taken last May 9, 2018. Froilan Gallardo ABS-CBN News

A resident writes a name on their property wall in Marawi in this photo taken last May 9, 2018. Froilan Gallardo ABS-CBN News

More names are written on a concrete wall in Marawi in this photo taken last May 9, 2018. Froilan Gallardo ABS-CBN News

A resident prepares a tarpaulin sign identifying the property owner in Marawi in this photo taken last May 9, 2018. Froilan Gallardo ABS-CBN News

A resident walks past a sign identifying the property owner in Marawi in this phto taken last May 9, 2018. Froilan Gallardo ABS-CBN News

A resident takes a rest after writing a sign identifying their property in Marawi City in this photo taken May 9, 2018. Froilan Gallardo ABS-CBN News

Residents check the ruins of their homes after they were given the chance to visit Marawi on May 9, 2018. Froilan Gallardo ABS-CBN News