MARAWI City — Out of 6,861 structures in the 250-hectare, 24-barangay Ground Zero, consent for demolition has been given by owners of only 610 structures (8.9%), raising doubts if debris clearing would be completed by Aug. 30 to allow for the return of residents to repair or rebuild their homes by first week of September.
But Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario, Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) chair, assured the Sub-Committee on Marawi Rehabilitation of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Disaster Management during its public hearing here last Wednesday that they would complete two tasks by Aug. 30: clearing of the unexploded ordnance (UXOs) and demolition of buildings that are no longer classified as safe.
Del Rosario gave the same assurance to residents displaced from Ground Zero or Most Affected Area (MAA), during the consultation-dialogue with them on March 18 and 19 at the provincial gym, the same venue for the public hearing.
Marcelino Escalada, Jr., general manager of the National Housing Authority (NHA) also assured the Sub-Committee that they are confident they would meet the TFBM’s deadline. He said the demolition itself takes a “very short” time, at one structure in two hours.
He said they have organized four demolition teams to work 24/7.
But Escalada admitted at the public hearing that “the challenge is really the consent” from the owners.
“We will not proceed without consent and issuance of demolition order by the city government of Marawi,” he said.
Escalada said that with the consultations held on Monday and Tuesday, “if people will understand the purpose of the demolition, a week or two weeks from now, many will be applying for permits.”
Del Rosario assured Ground Zero residents last Tuesday that they would be able to return to their villages to repair or rebuild on the first week of September but as early as the first week of July, residents in the “least affected areas” of the MAA like Barangay Tolali can already return to their village to repair their residential and commercial structures provided they seek permits from City Hall and their structures are still considered safe.
“Titingnan ng city government kung bahay mo ay totoong matibay pa,” del Rosario said, adding that everyone who makes repairs need to get permits from City Hall “para once and for all lahat ng business establishments naka-record na sa city government at magbayad na po kayo ng taxes.”
Lands back to owners
Escalada noted the resident’s hesitance to give their consent, blaming this on the “misconception” that if they demolish the structures, the lots on where they stand would be taken over by government.
“That is not true. We assured them whatever we demolished, land will be reverted to them,” he said.
Del Rosario said if the residents give their consent, the TFBM will give them a document that they are the authorized and legitimate owner of the building and that they have the right to return after the demolition exactly where their house was constructed.
Before demolitions are undertaken, social cartography by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is required, del Rosario explained. He said a total of 8,797 houses and lots have already been already profiled the Land Resource Management in the MAA and that the profiling would be completed “by the end of (this) month.”
“What is important is for us to identify the ownership and right boundaries as stated in the titles. Because we found out (that) most … coordinates of the title and actual location where houses are built are not compatible. In fact, some titles are situated along Lake Lanao,” he said.
He said residents would return to their villages with their land titles indicating the right coordinates.
Lanao Rep. Khalid Dimaporo said he hopes the TFBM will be able to complete the inventory at the end of this month. “Sana by March 30 or April 1, that inventory should be submitted to the Committee secretariat,” Dimaporo said, noting that without it, “when the 18th Congress starts (on June 30), magkaproblema tayo. It will not be a smooth sailing relationship between Congress and Task Force Bangon Marawi.” (mindanews)