MARAWI CITY – Water and electricity will soon be restored here, according to officials of Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM).
TFBM chief Eduardo del Rosario assured residents in this hard-hit city that connections to damaged establishments of these basic services would be done “within the next two weeks.”
This comes on the heels of a statement issued by Malacanang that President Duterte wants the rehabilitation work fast-tracked to counter observations that things are going on at a snail’s pace.
The Marawi Reconstruction Conflict Watch, a non-government organization that monitors the progress of the government’s rehab efforts, alleges that many Marawi residents still haven’t been allowed to return to their respective domiciles after three long and agonizing years in spite of the rosy promises of officials.
They said thousands have been forced to stay in evacuation shelters and temporary housing facilities in squalid conditions.
Representatives of the Moro Consensus Group said they will not settle for anything less than unconditional return to their homes and just compensation for their considerable losses to enable them to rebuild their lives.
For thousands of affected townsfolk, the promised restoration couldn’t have come any sooner as they have been suffering in a sub-human environment for the past three years due to the government’s lethargy in bringing life back to normal, despite the P60.5 billion supposedly earmarked for rehabilitation purposes.
Many parts of Marawi City – particularly in “Ground Zero” – were severely battered, and dozens of commercial buildings leveled, by the aerial bombardment conducted by the Philippine Air Force during the five-month armed conflict (May to October, 2017) between the Philippine military and militants affiliated with ISIS, Abu Sayyaf and Maute groups who were seeking to establish their own Philippine province.
Some 1,000 militants and 160 soldiers lost their lives during the siege, the longest urban warfare waged in the Philippines since World War 2.
Up to 360,000 people were displaced in the vicious fighting.