By Lady Jean L. Kabagani

MARAWI CITY, Aug 29 (PIA ICCC) – To bring back the war-torn city to normalcy the city government here is now focusing on the recovery and rehabilitation of its residents.

The local government unit (LGU) of Marawi has lined up several projects for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) currently sheltered at the remaining evacuation centers and transitional sites as well as for the “returned residents.”

City Mayor Majul Gandamra stated that the local government would provide livelihood assistance for its constituents until the city will recover from the trauma of the siege.

Recently, the Marawi-LGU implemented the road widening project at the city proper, clearing the sidewalk of vendors.

“We would fix our road problems in the city, but we will see to it that our affected constituents will be supported in this regard,” Gandamra said.

Gandamra also mentioned the risk of putting up stores along the highway saying, “it might affect the pedestrians and the customers’ safety.”

During the implementation of the road widening project, the stalls occupied by the sidewalk vendors were demolished, resulting in the loss of their livelihoods.

With this, the local government said the affected vendors would be transferred to the newly opened public markets.

“These affected vendors will be transferred at the right place where they’re supposed to sell their products which is at the public markets,” Gandamra stressed.

“In partnership with other agencies, we built a public market for them in different areas here,” he added.

Gandamra also mentioned that the government sought to open new public markets at Barangay Luksa Datu and at the Sagonsongan Transitional Site.

Also, the government is eyeing to open an integrated public market and transport terminal formerly known as Greater Marawi Area (GMA terminal), which had undergone rehabilitation.

Gandamra shared that the Marawi-LGU would shoulder the four-month stall fee of the transferred sidewalk vendors “due to business displacements, giving these vendors a grace period of four months to be free of stall-charges at the public markets.”

Aside from this, vendors will benefit financial assistance to help them regain their livelihoods.

“We will give financial assistance to rebuild their business amounting to a maximum P15K depending on the vendor’s businesses,” Gandamra assured.

“We will provide different financial assistance since these vendors have different types of businesses, so expect some will get a large amount and some will not,” he added.

More than 140 vendors will benefit from this program, “since we have operational expenses for the markets, the vendors will only pay for minimal and affordable rental fee. This will be used to the public market’s maintenance and cleanliness,” Gandamra maintained.It can be recalled that during the first anniversary of Task Force Bangon Marawi’s (TFBM) Kawiyagan- a livelihood program for Marawi IDPs, the city government gave the first ten out of more than 140 vendors cash assistance amounting to P15 thousand each.

Gandamra also guaranteed that the rental fee at the public markets would be more affordable than the old-stalls they occupied along the way, “LGU knows the financial capacity of our constituents, so we assured that the rental fee will be manageable for our vendors, to help them sustain businesses here in Marawi.”

The Marawi-LGU also assured the residents affected by siege to be provided with several programs.

“Not just these 140 plus individuals will be given livelihood assistance but also the other constituents affected by the siege here,” Gandamra concluded. (LJKabagani/PIA ICCC)