Two years after the end of the bloody siege launched by Islamic State-linked militants that caused deaths and massive destruction of properties in Marawi City, the government announced the start of its "physical" rehabilitation.
The announcement came after authorities finished clearing the city of unexploded ordnances left by the military and the Maute Group extremists after their 5-month long firefight for Marawi in 2017.
“Hindi namin sasabihing 100 percent but we are very very confident now na safe na yung sa MAA (Most Affected Area) of Marawi,” said Joint Taskforce Builder Col. Irineo Sebastian.
It took two years to start the rehabilitation of Marawi because of clearing operations, according to Marcelino Escalada, general manager of the National Housing Authority.
"I cannot compromise the security and safety of the people of Marawi," Escalada said.
Local authorities, however, have yet to demolish already-battered structures that might pose danger to people's safety. They said they will tear such edifices whether their owners like it or not.
"We cannot allow them (owners) to go back na malagay sa danger ang kanilang buhay and also their neighbor. There will be forced demolition but it will be based on the recommendation from the expert. Kahapon, sinabi ko na they can hire their own structural engineer para i-inspect ang kanilang mga bahay. If their engineer will say it is sound, then we will assess," said Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra.
Residents with proper documents will be permitted to build their houses. Those who live in the MAA part of Marawi, however, are not yet allowed to go back in their properties until the renovation of water and electrical facilities which were damaged in the 2017 siege.
The siege, which prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao, left at least 1,000 people killed, including terrorists, soldiers, and civilians.
The government said it would cover expenses for damaged public infrastructure in Marawi despite Duterte's statement that he might leave it up to businessmen.
- Report from Roxanne Arevalo, ABS-CBN News