By Wilnard Bacelonia

ILIGAN CITY, Aug 28 (PIA-ICCC) – The National Housing Authority (NHA) which leads the debris management inside Marawi City’s most affected area (MAA) clarifies that the blast wall along the boundary of Sector 1-7 and 8-9 was built for the safety of the displaced residents who are gradually returning to their homes.

The statement came after some displaced residents expressed their sentiments citing that the wall is useless and a waste of government funds.

Engr. Ikmat Bantuas of the NHA-Marawi Project Management Office (MPMO) disclosed that more unexploded ordnances were located inside Sector 8 and 9 which will put the returning residents of Sector 1,2, and 3 in danger without the blast wall.

“We’ve done research with the Explosive Ordnance and Disposal (EOD) Team and reached the agreement to put up this wall for the displaced residents’ safety,” he said.

The 9-feet blast wall is made up of sand wrapped with 1X1 bulletproof fiber blocks which are designed to block shrapnel from unexploded bombs to be detonated or might accidentally explode inside Sectors 8 and 9.

“We are actually planning to increase its height from 9-feet to 12-feet so we can protect not just the people, but also the equipment and structures outside the two sectors,” Bantuas added.

The bullet-proof blast wall was built under the debris management fund which is one of the primary projects of the Philippine Government’s Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Recovery and Rehabilitation Program (BMCRRP).

Demolition guidelines for strict compliance

After creating the Inter-agency Committee on Debris Clearing (IACDC), the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) continues to ensure that demolition guidelines under the rule of law are strictly observed.

Opposing claims that TFBM and the local government unit of Marawi City have already issued thousands of permits to demolish houses at Sector 6 inside MAA, Engr. Bantuas clarified that they have not received any order to demolish structures in Sector 6 yet.

He also added that they are not allowed to demolish any private structure without consent from its owner aside from two cases.

“If the structure is within the range of road expansion or if the structure is unsound, but located near the blast site where a UXO might be found. It is too dangerous to dig up an unexploded bomb and even more dangerous to transport it somewhere else, that is why the EOD has been detonating UXOs at exactly where it is found,” Bantuas explained.

Meanwhile, NHA-MPMO Head Director Roderick Ibañez assured that they would reconsider the request to reevaluate and reassess the structures at Sector 6 to make sure that only structurally unsound structures are to be demolished.

“If we found that the structures are really unsound, we will still follow the protocol of informing them through formal notice,” he assured. (WLBacelonia/PIA-ICCC)