OPEN DIALOGUE: Government officials, led by Task Force Bangon Marawi Chairman Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario (center), listen to the concerns aired by leaders of internally displaced persons (IDPs) now staying at Sagonsongan Temporary Shelters. Secretary Del Rosario and Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra offered solutions to the issues raised to the delight of the IDP leaders.

QUEZON CITY – Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Chairman and Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario is lamenting the sustained negative criticism against government-led efforts to fully rehabilitate the war-torn Marawi City.

Secretary Del Rosario, who also heads the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, expressed disappointment over the continued efforts by some quarters to criticize the government despite its unwavering commitment in rebuilding the only Islamic City in the country.

According to the TFBM chief, there are still a few individuals and groups whose main objective is to tarnish the government’s image using their claimed delay on Marawi rehabilitation and the lack of assistance to the affected Maranaws.

“This, despite our repeated declaration of commitment to complete the rehabilitation as ordered by President Rodrio Roa Duterte,” Secretary Del Rosario stressed.

“It’s alright with us as long as deep in our hearts, we know that we are doing what is right for the people of Marawi and we have the support of the Marawi City government and Maranaw traditional leaders in our efforts,” he added.

Secretary Del Rosario, who visited Marawi last weekend to mark the third anniversary of the Islamic city’s liberation, explained that right after the hostilities ended, the TFBM immediately focused on early intervention to address woes related to addressing hunger, providing temporary shelters, provision of health services as well as ensuring continued livelihood assistance for affected families and education for students.

The Task Force and its 56 implementing agencies then proceeded to the debris management and bomb-clearing operations that took around two years to complete.

The horizontal and vertical construction went full blast last July following the release of P3.56 billion budget in April and May this year. The community quarantine implemented last March triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down the reconstruction.

“But we remain on track, we have the methodology in the rehabilitation and we are well within the time frame of completing all major infrastructures by December 2021,” Secretary Del Rosario said.

The TFBM chief also belied claims that residents of Marawi’s most affected area (MAA) were not allowed to return to their homes, stressing that as early as July last year, residents of MAA who complied with documentary requirements were given the go signal to reconstruct their houses.

According to Secretary Del Rosario, the TFBM is committed to achieving its three main objectives in Marawi – make the rehabilitation a catalyst for growth and sustainable development, serve as a template for good governance and establish a peaceful environment.

He expressed hope that once these main objectives are achieved, Marawi will be one of the most competitive cities in the country.

Among the projects whose construction is now on full-blast are road networks inside MAA, the Grand Padian Market, permanent shelters for internally displaced persons as well as the Marawi Museum and 24 barangay halls each having their own health clinics and madrasahs.

Secretary Del Rosario stated that he envisions Marawi to become a modern and vibrant Islamic city once government-led rehabilitation efforts are completed. He had likewise reiterated that most of the ongoing projects are slated to be finished by December 2021.

During his recent visit, the TFBM chief was cited by Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra, Sultan Nasser Sampaco, head of the Marawi Sultanate League, and various leaders of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are currently staying in government shelters. (30)