MARAWI CITY, Philippines – The groundbreaking ceremony for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi City’s Most Affected Area (MAA) finally pushed through on Tuesday, October 30, at the former site of the city’s Rizal Park.
This formally signals the start of efforts to allow residents of the area to return to their homes by 2020.
“We had to endure the pain of uncertainy that had been agonizing for us all and we started wondering if our city would ever be rebuilt,” Marawi Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra, echoing sentiments of his constituents, said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“But now, with this groundbreaking, all of this [has] come to an end. The rebuilding efforts will finally materialize,” he continued.
Those at the ceremony were MAA residents, regional and local officials, members of the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) and civil society groups.
There were delays in the groundbreaking ceremony because the date had been rescheduled so President Rodrigo Duterte could attend it. The President, however, was not at the Tuesday ceremony as he had “equally important” engagements, according to TFBM chairman Eduardo del Rosario, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chairman.
The rehabilitation of Marawi, if done right, will pave the way for genuine and lasting peace in Mindanao, said Senator JV Ejercito who was also at the ceremony.
Undersecretary Falconi Millar of the HUDCC laid out the rehabilitation plan and assured MAA residents that the reconstruction will be completed by the 4th quarter of 2021, and that they will be able to return to their homes before 2020.
“Ina-assure ko po sa inyo….ang rehabilitation and reconstruction ng Marawi City ay kaya natin maisa-katuparan by 4th quarter of 2021. Mangyayari po ‘yan. Ang pagbalik na inaasahan ninyo sa inyong mga tahanan, ang pagrereconstruct ng inyong mga tahanan dito sa MAA ay mangyayari bago mag-year 2020.“
(I assure you…the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City will be realized by the 4th quarter of 2021. It will happen. The homecoming that you have been anticipating, the reconstruction of your homes here in the MAA will happen before the year 2020.)
Here are other photos at the groundbreaking event. All photos by Martin San Diego.