Gov't to build 1,000 temporary homes for Marawi evacuees

EVACUATION. An elderly Maranao woman sits on a corner in a dilapidated classroom that serves as their evacuation center in Balo-i, Lanao del Norte.

Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The government will build more than 1,000 temporary shelters for Marawi residents in evacuation centers under the initial phase of rehabilitation efforts for the war-torn city. 

Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chief Eduardo del Rosario bared the plan in a Rappler Talk interview aired Wednesday, July 26. 

“Immediate objective ay ma-decongest ang evacuation centers. Kasi there are about 5,000 families in evacuation centers. Matatanggalan natin iyan ng 1,300, nakabawas na agad tayo ng 20%,” the new housing chief said.

(The immediate objective is to decongest the evacuation centers. There are about 5,000 families in evacuation centers. If we remove 1,300 families there, we would be able to ease the congestion by 20%.) 

Based on the latest available data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development, there are 5,056 families or 27,333 persons in 89 evacuation centers. Majority of the 114,822  displaced families are staying with relatives or outside the evacuation centers. (IN PHOTOS: Marawi's evacuees

Around 1,000 to 1,300 temporary homes will be built either near Marawi or in safe areas inside the city. Del Rosario said this will depend on the availability and security of lands, which will provided by the Marawi City and Lanao del Sur governments.

Del Rosario said this will be the government’s initial step in providing shelter for the displaced families, as housing authorities determine the required number of temporary and permanent housing units.

“Our approach is two-pronged. Those living in vulnerable areas that need resettlement, they will be resettled in permanent housing. That’s the primary objective of the government. Those in urban center whose houses were caught on fire or destroyed by the fighting will be given government assistance through soft loans,” explained Del Rosario. 

He said that low interest rate at 3% will be given by the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF or Pag-IBIG Fund) to victims of the crisis. 

Those affected may borrow up to P450,000 under the agency’s regular loan package. The loan will be interest-free for the first 6 months. 

Pag-IBIG earlier allocated P3 billion to aid its members in Marawi in rebuilding their homes. 

No more tents 

The temporary shelters to be built will replace the tent cities that the government was supposed to set up for the internally-displaced persons. 

“Hindi na siya tent city. Napakinggan natin ang hiling ng mga IDPs sa Marawi (Tent cities will no longer be set up. We listened to the request of the IDPs in Marawi City),” DSWD Secretary Judy Taguiwalo said in a news briefing on Friday, July 28. 

The agency had earlier sent 600 tents to decongest the evacuation centers. 

Taguiwalo said that the DSWD had asked Lanao del Sur mayors to adopt the evacuees and ease the burden in evacuation centers. 

The DSWD will also provide cash-for-work for those in need amounting to P200 per day for 10 days.

Marawi has been under siege for over two months, or since fighting broke out between government troops and local terrorists linked to the Islamic State (ISIS) on May 23.  Martial law was imposed in the whole Mindanao for 60 days, and extended to December 31, after Congress approved President Rodrigo Duterte's request.

Duterte ordered the creation of Task Force Bangon Marawi in early July to oversee the government's rehabilitation efforts. The inter-agency team is led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, the martial law administrator – 

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.