Temporary shelters for Marawi evacuees not ready - 20 days after keys received

Workers rush to finish temporary shelters in the village of Sagonsongan in Marawi City that the Philippine government has promised to residents displaced by war.
Workers rush to finish temporary shelters in the village of Sagonsongan in Marawi City that the Philippine government has promised to residents displaced by war.PHOTO: PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER / ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MARAWI CITY (PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Twenty days after the government turned over the keys to their new houses, residents of this city displaced by the military's five-month battle with terrorists have yet to move in to temporary shelters built for them.

Housing Assistant Secretary Felix Castro said the government had reset for the third time the moving-in dates for 250 families who would occupy the shelters because they were not yet ready for occupancy.

Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), the body tasked with the rehabilitation of the city and the resettlement of displaced residents, on Dec 27 last year (2017) turned over the keys and certificates of occupancy to 250 families, or half of the 500 families initially targeted to be given temporary shelters.

Mr Castro said the transition houses, made of panel boards, still lacked electrical connections. He also said the road network and drainage system on the 13-hectare relocation site had yet to be finished.

Earlier, Mr Castro had projected the units to be ready by December last year but he revised his estimate to Jan 20. He said the prevailing weather condition, and the need for "minor fixes", such as plumbing, power lines and other finishing jobs, had caused the delay.

Mr Alykhan Ali, officer in charge of the Department of Public Works and Highways in Lanao del Norte province, said the road network leading to the site was almost complete.

He said the delay in the arrival of materials from South Korea and the lack of heavy equipment by the contractor had also delayed the completion of some of the housing units.

Mr Castro said the government intended to relocate 70,000 families still living in 67 evacuation sites in Lanao del Norte and Lanao del Sur.

Aside from Sagonsongan, other transitory areas for residents included one in Matungao in Lanao del Norte.

President Farmida Macabando of the Association of Barangay Councils in Marawi City said the technical working group created to screen and verify beneficiaries decided that 70 per cent of the more than 1,175 temporary shelters being built on a 13-hectare land in Sagonsongan would be awarded to evacuees living in evacuation centres.

The remaining 30 per cent would be allotted to home-based evacuees - or those living on private lots and houses of relatives.

Aside from ensuring that the temporary shelters were ready for occupancy, the TFBM was also tasked to ensure the safety of residents and to see to it that the rehabilitation efforts were on track, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said last week.