MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte will turn over on Wednesday the first batch of transitional shelters to Marawi residents, as the government rebuilds the southern city after 5 months of conflict.
The President will lead the handover of some 500 housing units in Barangay Sagonsongan, some 3.5 kilometers from "ground zero" which saw the fiercest encounters between the Army and Islamic State-inspired extremists.
Each 22-square meter housing unit comes with its own bathroom and kitchen and has electricity and water supply.
Another 300 transitional shelters built by state-run gaming firm Pagcor in Matungao, Lanao del Norte will be also turned over on Wednesday, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"Nangako ang Presidente na babagon ang Marawi, nagsimula na pong bumangon ang Marawi dahil ito ang kauna-unahang shelters na ibibigay sa naging biktima ng digmaan," Roque told reporters.
(The President promised that Marawi will rise again. Marawi has begun to recover with this first batch of shelters that will be given to the victims of war.)
The government targets to distribute 1,100 transitional shelters in Sagonsongan before the end of February, said Task Force Bangon Marawi chairman Eduardo Del Rosario.
Del Rosario, who also heads the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council, said 250 families will be able to occupy the transitional houses before the year ends and another 250 will move in by Jan. 7.
The government will shoulder the electricity bill of the residents in the transitional sites for the first 6 months of their stay, he said.
Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said some 19,000 individuals have been allowed to return to the city.
Roads will be widened, buildings will be cleared, power lines will be put underground, and a new drainage system and waste and water treatment facilities will be built as part of the rehabilitation plan, Del Rosario said.
Those who used to live by the Agus River and Lanao Lake will be transferred to a safer area. A 2-km stretch of the Agus riverbank will also be converted into a promenade, Del Rosario said.