Groundwork begins for Marawi relocation site

Soldiers are working with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) and Marawi City's Office of the City Engineer. 

Construction can go full throttle as soon as the model houses are approved, according to the military. 

"Our backhoes are here as well as our bulldozers, graders, and backhoe loaders so that when the model houses [are] approved, we will go full throttle with the construction of units," said Lieutenant Colonel Jonjie Juguilon of the 547th Engineering Battalion, Engineering Brigade.

The relocation site is divided into 5 areas that will each host up to 1,000 temporary houses. Each area will have communal kitchens, comfort rooms, and washing areas. Electricity lines and water systems are also being installed.

Marawi City residents displaced by war have been aching to go back home. But the battle continues to rage in at least 3 villages – Raya Madaya, Banggolo, and Marinaut – and the military said it's not yet safe for them to return. 

Marawi residents will be recruited to work at the relocation site in exchange for cash, according to the military. 

"In order to give the evacuees a chance to work and earn wages, construction workers and laborers will be commissioned from among them," said the military in a statement. "Four workers will be paid 15,000 to construct a single-detached house."

The conflict has displaced nearly 400,000 residents of Lanao del Sur. The local government has been encouraging residents of other towns to return to their homes. – Carmela Fonbuena / Rappler.com