Housing council under Del Rosario takes lead in Marawi rehabilitation task force

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Marawi rehabilitation
Bombed-out buildings within what was the main battle area between government troops and Islamic State-inspired militants in Marawi City in this Oct. 25 photo, taken days after the conflict was declared ended. The eastern half of Marawi is almost totally destroyed and authorities have said it could be months, or even years, before many of the more than 350,000 displaced residents can return home. -- AFP

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte has formally assigned the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) as lead agency for Task Force Bangon Marawi, the inter-agency and multi-sector group that will handle the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City.

Administrative Order (AO) No. 9, signed by Mr. Duterte on Oct. 27, amends AO No. 03, which created the task force in June.

Under AO No. 3, signed on June 28, the secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND) was designated as chairperson while the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) secretary will serve as vice-chairperson.

With the implementation of AO no. 9, Task Force Bangon Marawi will now be headed by HUDCC Chairman Eduardo D. del Rosario, a retired general, while Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana and DPWH Secretary Mark A. Villar will act as vice-chairpersons.

“The Chairman of the HUDCC as head of Task Force Bangon Marawi shall have operational control and supervision of the said Task Force and the overall responsibility to ensure that the objectives of this Order are accomplished,” AO No. 9 reads.

The task force’s subcommittee on housing, which was headed by the Office of the Cabinet Secretary, has also been transferred to the HUDCC, which “shall be primarily responsible for the immediate rehabilitation and construction of temporary or permanent shelters, and the restoration of water, electricity, and other public utilities therein.”

The subcommittee on security, peace and order, previously headed by the Department of Interior and Local Government, will now be co-headed by the DND. This committee is “responsible for the restoration and maintenance of peace and order, and the continuity of public services in the city.”

Mr. Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi City from terrorists on Oct. 17 after government forces killed Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, the two leaders of the Islamic State-followers who took siege and held ground for almost five months.

Some of the more than 350,000 displaced residents of Marawi, considered as the main Islamic city of the Philippines, have started returning this week to their homes in declared safe zones by the military.

Task Force Bangon Marawi, in coordination with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao and local government units, is tasked to organize and deploy quick response teams that will provide for the immediate needs of displaced and affected families, conduct post-conflict needs assessment, facilitate and oversee the construction of temporary and permanent shelters, coordinate the immediate restoration of public utilities, provide an environment conducive to the revival of business and livelihood activities, and ensure the restoration of peace and order.

The government estimates that the rehabilitation would require as much as P50 billion and could take several years to implement. — Rosemarie A. Zamora