The House Committee on Disaster Resilience has vowed to investigate the rehabilitation efforts in Marawi, years after it was ravaged by battles between government troops and an extremist group.
"I believe Marawi City is the longest calamity-stricken area in the country. For the past 5 years we have been displaced and the city is continuously under rehabilitation,” 1st District of Lanao Del Sur Rep. Ziaur-Rahman Alonto Adiong said during the committee’s organizational meeting with various government agencies.
Adiong seemed shocked when the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said that the city’s utilization rate is already at “98 percent”.
“98 percent of the infra?” Adiong asked.
"Yes. Everything is…" Civil Defense Deputy Administrator Asec. Bernardo Rafaelito Alejandro IV replied, who was in the meeting to present OCD’s immediate and long- term plans.
But before he can continue, Adiong protested.
"Do not tell me ‘everything’ … because I am a displaced person. I haven’t returned back to my home. And there are quite 2,000 plus IDPs (internally displaced persons) they’re still lingering in the temporary shelters. We have yet to wait for the opening of the permanent shelters, so don’t tell me almost 98%. We don’t accept that," Adiong said.
"Because there are still some areas in Marawi- walang tubig… wala pang cables, di pa magamit… no power supply. How can you expect people to return if there are no basic services,” Adiong said.
He said he was “not angry”, only passionate about the issue.
"Because nobody here in this room have felt exactly, how it feels to live and linger in a temporary shelter for five years with interrupted power supply, with inadequate water supply and electric supply. Nobody in this room,” Adiong said.
He suggests a reassessment of the damage in the city.
"When you do the assessment this time, please do an honest to goodness assessment. Kaya pala nag-uundervalue yung appreciation ng national government,” he added, addressing NEDA and OCD — who both replied in the affirmative.
Aside from bringing residents back in Marawi, ligan City Hon. Celso Regencia believes its rehabilitation is significant for the country’s security.
"Ang gusto ko lang ay ma - address ang problema doon kasi kung hindi, sigurado talaga ako- puputok na naman ang ISIS-inspired Maute group. Iba ang utak nila,” Iligan City Hon. Celso Regencia said.
FROM THE ARCHIVES