2022 Philippine Elections

Isko vows Marawi rehab completed by December 2022 if elected president

Isko vows Marawi rehab completed by December 2022 if elected president

PROMISING SPEED. Manila Mayor Isko Moreno is running on a platform of speed and efficiency in governance.

Photo from Isko Moreno campaign team

The Manila Mayor is known for implementing many infrastructure projects. Can he use this experience to bring Marawi back to normalcy?

MANILA, Philippines – Out of all the presidential aspirants interviewed by Jessica Soho for her Presidential Interviews, Manila Mayor Isko Moreno was the only one to promise a completion rate for Marawi reconstruction by a specific date.

“By December of 2022, tapos na ‘yon, 100% na ‘yon (By December of 2022, it will be finished, it will be 100% finished.),” said Moreno, referring to Marawi rehabilitation, during the interviews aired on Saturday, January 22.

Moreno gave this date after being told by Soho that the Duterte administration reported a 75% to 80% completion rate of the Mindanao city’s reconstruction as of September 2021.

More updated figures from Task Force Bangon Marawi peg the completion rate at 85% as of December 2021, or a month ago. However, civic groups like Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch point out that this completion rate pertains only to the government’s infrastructure projects.

“With regards to houses, basic utilities such water facilities, I don’t think it’s reached that level. There are many more unresolved issues,” said MRCW member Saripada “Tong” Pacasum Jr. last January 19.

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Mayor Moreno also talked of one of the major obstacles plaguing Marawi reconstruction since day one – problems with land ownership. Moreno said that, if this continues to be a problem, he would order government to buy land in Marawi to give to displaced Marawi residents.

Yung lupa doon, maraming issue ng lupa doon ay pag-aari ng gobyerno. Eh ako, namamahagi ako ng lupa sa Maynila, binibili ng gobyerno, ibinibigay sa tao, nagtatayuan ng bahay, ibinibigay sa tao para magkaroon ng kapanatagan, and that same rule will be applied to Marawi,” said Moreno.

(There are many land issues there, like with those owned by the government. Me, I give out land in Manila. Land is bought by government, given to people. Housing is built on the land and this is given to the people so they feel safe, and that same rule will be applied to Marawi.)

Moreno’s target appears achievable, especially if he is referring to completing just the major infrastructure projects. But fully rehabilitating Marawi, to many, means the return of all internally-displaced persons to their homes or in permanent new housing.

Much remains to be done

Despite the list of accomplishments presented by the government, thousands of families remain in shelters and many basic services – like electrical systems, water installations, and road networks – are yet to be completed, according to residents quoted in this Rappler report.

According to Ibrahim Mimbalawag, a justice department prosecutor whose family was displaced by the Marawi siege, problems with the relocation of thousands of residents from at least four barangays have yet to be addressed and at least four mosques are yet to be rebuilt.

Over 1,000 homeowners have been given permits to rebuild their own homes, but not even half have been able to actually start reconstruction, much less live in their houses again.

Land issues in Marawi are complex, with many families building homes on land without formal titles or with titles being contested by others. This has led to delays in government allowing families to rebuild homes on their land, which in turn, has prevented the lives of Marawi residents returning to normalcy. There are cases of families claiming land that had been identified for government projects.

Moreno likely gets his confidence in giving a Marawi target date from his implementation of his ambitious infrastructure program for Manila. A Rappler report showed that of the 20 high-impact infrastructure projects Moreno started, almost half have been completed or partially opened.

How about Marawi compensation bill?

But all four presidential aspirants interviewed failed to mention a major issue of Marawi residents: compensation for the damage to their homes and property caused by the 2017 Marawi siege.

While the House of Representatives has passed its version of the bill, the Senate has yet to do so with only days remaining in the 18th Congress. The House bill allows Marawi private property owners to be compensated for their losses during the siege, based on their property’s current market value.

What the other aspirants said

Vice President Leni Robredo promised Marawi residents a continuation of her office’s Angat Buhay programs in the city if she is elected.

Senator Manny Pacquiao made a general promise to put up housing in Marawi.

Senator Panfilo Lacson decried the tendency of politicians to help rehabilitate a calamity-struck place only when it’s “trendy” to do so and said he has given assistance to Marawi without publicity or fanfare. – Rappler.com