PH reviews ownership claims ahead of Marawi redevelopment

Patrick Quintos, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 04 2018 09:23 AM

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MANILA - A government task force leading the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi has begun reviewing ownership claims and land titles of displaced residents as Malacañang continues to negotiate with developers on how to proceed with its plan.

Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima, Task Force Bangon Marawi spokesperson, said some residential areas, particularly those that are part of a military reservation, will be subject to land development.

PH reviews ownership claims ahead of Marawi redevelopment 1
Structures left in ruins inside Marawi's main battle area after the 5-month long siege. Fernando Sepe, Jr. ABS-CBN News

"There will be, of course, residential areas (that will be subject to redevelopment) but it is still subject to negotiations right now. There are many issues included in the redevelopment—land issues, land titles. As we know, most of Marawi is technically under proclamation for military reservation," he said in an interview on ANC's Early Edition.

The land title issue is a major concern raised early in the talks on the rehabilitation of Marawi as Maranaos claim that official ownership has not been part of the culture there. They said properties were inherited by residents from their forefathers.

Over the decades, a lot of residents have been allowed to live and build properties in certain areas in Marawi even without holding any land titles. But Purisima stressed that this does not mean that they already own the land.

"That doesn't result to ownership because there's a proclamation. But of course we want to rationalize this. We want to make a recommendation as to how much of the military reservation will be retained and how much can be transferred to the residents," he said.

Various Maranao groups earlier slammed Task Force Bangon Marawi for not properly consulting them in the plans to rebuild their hometown. They particularly called the redevelopment plan "an invasion of a different kind."

Despite this, Task Force Bangon Marawi announced that it has chosen a China-led consortium for the redevelopment of the battle-ravaged city. This is composed of 5 Chinese and 4 local firms, which met the minimum standard set by the task force.

Purisima said this is not yet final, saying the task force is still open to proposals as they undergo negotiations with the firms under the the Bangon Marawi Consortium. Consultations with local residents are still ongoing, he added.