MANILA – Rebuilding war-ravaged Marawi City might take two to three years, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said Friday as government prepared to restore the once bustling city with conflict with Islamic State-linked terrorists nearing its end.
OCD spokesperson Romina Marasigan said the timeline was based on an initial assessment of the damage the city has sustained in the fighting, now on its fourth month.
“This is initial ‘no. ‘Yung sa... from the outside pa natin nakikita ‘to. Hindi pa naman nakakapasok ang ating assessment team,” Marasigan said in a news conference in Malacañang.
Marasigan said government hopes to give a more definite timeline on Marawi rehabilitation efforts once the post-conflict needs assessment is made and a recovery plan is created.
Marasigan said the consensus among government officials was for the damaged parts of the city to be rebuilt from scratch.
“Kasi doon sa ating usapin ay nakikita natin na hindi maganda kung ire-repair lang. Kung sira-sira ‘yung bahay mo, repair na lang natin. Mas maganda talaga, magre-rebuild tayo,” Marasigan said.
“Ang ibig sabihin nito talaga, ‘yung mga sirang mga buildings, sisirain na lang ‘yun completely, tatayuan natin ng bago.”
She said while the city's estimated 200,000 displaced residents await the rebuilding, government is preparing to build transitional shelters at a site in the city’s Sagonsongan village, located some 3.6 kms from the city proper.
The transitional houses will have a total floor area of 22 sqms, standing on 54-sqm lots. Each house will have its own bathroom.
Mosques, madrasahs, police and barangay outposts, livelihood centers, and recreational facilities will also be built on the transitional site.
Marasigan said government is looking to build an initial 1,100 shelters at the transitional site, but added that more houses could be built within the area and on other transitional sites.
Government has allotted billions and received foreign aid for the rebuilding and rehabilitation of Marawi, a predominantly Muslim city that was once the commercial and cultural capital of Lanao del Sur.
After four months of fighting, government troops have expressed confidence that the battle would soon be over, but did not give a definite timeline.
The violent clashes prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law, saying local terrorists were aiming to establish an Islamic State province in the Philippines.
More than 800 people have died in the firefights, and hundreds of thousands have been displaced from the city and nearby towns.