Civil society leader says BTA would do better in Marawi rehab

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MARAWI CITY-based civil society organization leader Drieza A. Lininding has called on the national government to let the newly-established Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA) take over the rehabilitation program in Marawi City.

Mr. Lininding of the Moro Consensus Group, in a post on Facebook, criticized the slow recovery process in the war-torn city and said that Task Force Bangon Marawi Chairman Eduardo Del D. Rosario’s recent statement that the city is “alive and booming” is like “pouring salt to our injury.”

He noted that more than 100,000 people are still displaced after almost two years since the siege.

In an interview with BusinessWorld, Mr. Lininding said, “Kung sa (In the) rehabilitation sa (in the) MAA (most affected area), kahit yung (even their) interventions nila like temporary shelters, less than 10 percent lang ang na-serve nila (have been served) out of the more than 25,000 families or more than 100,000 persons.”

When asked if there have been families allowed to return to Marawi City, he said, “zero.”

Mr. Lininding said people from Marawi believe that the BTA should take the lead in the rehabilitation because its members “understand our culture and dynamics.”

“Our identity is tied with our land ownership. We also cannot just stay with our non-relatives,” he said. “For us, every household houses extended families,” he added.

In an interview in January, then Moro Islamic Liberation Front Chairman and now BTA Chief Minister Al Haj Murad Ebrahim said, “Among our priorities is the rehabilitation of Marawi City. I visited the ground zero myself, and I see the gravity of the urgency of its rehabilitation.”

“Although we know that its rehabilitation will involve big amounts because it is totally destroyed, we have been calling the national government as well as the international donors,” he added.

During a press conference held in Cotabato City on March 1, Mr. Murad emphasized that Marawi City’s rehabilitation is one of the 10 priorities of his administration in the new Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao.

“Marawi City is one of the 10 priorities we have identified in the BTA. Although we still need to have negotiations with the central government. Right now, with the issue of Marawi, there is a task force that is mandated by the government so we cannot just intervene unless there is an agreement with the national government,” he said. — Tajallih S. Basman