Duterte creates group to study creation of new military camp in Marawi
MANILA, Philippines – Despite strong opposition from thousands of people in Marawi City and Lanao del Sur, President Rodrigo Duterte formed a technical working group (TWG) to study the establishment of a military camp in Barangay Kapantaran, Marawi City.
Duterte ordered this through Memorandum Order (MO) No. 41 signed on Friday, November 15, and released to the media on Wednesday, November 20, laying down members of the TWG along with its powers and functions.
"To reinforce current efforts of the government to secure Marawi City and its neighboring areas, the President has dorected relevant government agencies to study the establishment of a military camp therein," reads the memorandum.
MO 41 makes officials from the following members part of the TWG:
- Department of National Defense
- Office of the Executive Secretary
- Department of Environment and Natural Resources
- Land Registration Authority
- Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development
- Department of the Interior and Local Government
What are the group's powers? There are 9 powers and functions laid out for the TWG which include the following:
- Conduct a census to identify residents who will be affected by the establishment of the proposed military camp on Kapantaran, Marawi City
- Study the institution of 3 detachments to be composed of 3 battalions, which will be deployed to the boundaries between Marawi City and contiguous municipalities
- Resurvey the area of the proposed camp to reestablish its metes and bounds
- Determine ownership and possession status of land that will be used for the military camp
- Expedite titling and registration of land "without prejudice to private rights, upon final determiination that they will form part of the military camp"
- Assist in resettlement of individuals and families who will be displaced as a result of the new military camp
- Provide support to affected local government units regarding issues that will arise form the establishment of the camp
- Tap other government agencies to support the performance of the group's functions
- Submit periodic report to the office of the President regarding the establishment of the camp
Resident push back: Two years since fighting between government forces and pro-Islamic State (ISIS) Maute terror group ravaged the country's Islamic city, residents have been unable to return home with most of the city still in ruin.
The Maranao people of Lanao del Sur and its capital, Marawi, early on opposed plans to build new military camps as part of the government's program to reconstruct the city with more than 100,000 people signing a petition against the construction of military camps in the city.
However, the Philippine Army has since been able to secure writs of possession, or recovery orders from a legal court, for more than 10 hectares of land in barangays Caloocan East and Kapantaran in Marawi's most affected area (MAA), the city's commercial hub almost completely destroyed by the fighting.
The petitioners warned that increasing military presence in Marawi would go against the Maranao's cultural and religious sensitivities, and could lead to unrest.
Residents also argued the establishment of a second military camp was unnecessary, given the presence of Camp Ranao, headquarters of the Philippine Army's 103rd Infantry Brigade in the city. – Rappler.com