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Maranaos appeal to Duterte: Stop proposed ecozone, military camp in Marawi

A Maranao-led civilian group has appealed to President Rodrigo Duterte to put a stop on the proposed plan of establishing an economic zone and a military camp in the war-torn Marawi City.

In a statement, Ranaw Multi-Sectoral Movement said the "people of Marawi are largely left out"  in the plans to rebuild Marawi City which was presented to them by Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson and Housing And Urban Development Coordinating Council Secretary Eduardo del Rosario and National Economic and Development Authority Undersecretary for Regional Development Adoracion Navarro during the multi-sectoral consultation held on March 21 to 22.

"Plans have been made without our participation. Plans that neither bear the stamp of our will nor reflect our culture. Plans whose mechanics and implementation are not clear to us. But one thing is clear: the people of Marawi are largely left out," the group said.

"Those who came to present the plan dismissed our comments, recommendations, and protestations as though we knew nothing and have no business getting involved in rebuilding our very own city," it added.

The proposed rehabilitation of the devastated city is "not merely the sum of its buildings" and "not merely an occasion for economic gain" as the city "symbolizes its people," the group said.

"We appeal to you to let Marawi be rebuilt the way our ancestors did: one house at a time, one masjid at a time. One village at a time. We welcome those who are willing to help us in this endeavor, for the challenges are daunting and the costs are high. We appeal though that please help us rebuild according to our will in pursuit of the will of Allah(swt). Stand with us, help us, please, be one of us," the group said.

"Mr. President, please put a stop to the proposed ecozone and military camp plans until we have been heard, until our dreams and aspirations, our cultural sensitivities and out fairt find expression in the rebuilding of Marawi City, our home,"  it added.

In December last year, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez revealed plans to up a community-based economic zone in Marawi for "small industries, local food processing, and small foundries" to boost the local economy in the city after it has been ravaged by a five-month war.

The President, meanwhile, in January led the groundbreaking ceremony of a new military camp which will be constructed at the Old City Hall.

The government would have to spend P51.6 billion for the rehabilitation of Marawi, according to Office of Civil Defense Deputy Administrator Kristoffer James Purisima.

He said the results of the post-conflict needs assessment in Marawi City and the towns of Butig and Piagapo in Lanao del Sur from August to December last year showed that damage and losses were pegged at P18.2 billion.

At least P10 billion has been allotted this year for the rehabilitation works subject to augmentation from other sources which may include development partners and the private sector.

Marawi has been declared liberated in October last year by President Rodrigo Duterte after government troops killed terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute. More than 1,000 people, mostly terror fighters, died amid the clashes.

Clearing operations of unexploded ordnance is still ongoing in Marawi with government troops aiming to finish it by April.  — RSJ, GMA News