By Christian V. Cabajar
 
QUEZON CITY, Sep. 2 (PIA)–Local and religious leaders in Marawi City have expressed gratitude to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Chairman Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario over the soon-to-start reconstruction of three mosques inside the Islamic City’s most affected area (MAA).
 
Secretary Del Rosario, who also heads the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), on Friday led the ceremonial signing of three Memorandums of Agreement (MoA) for the repair of the three mosques through the incentivized utilization of housing developers’ escrow funds.
 
Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra, who joined the event via video conference, thanked Secretary Del Rosario for his commitment in pushing for key projects meant to ensure that the country’s only Islamic city will “rise again” as pledged by President Duterte following the five-month siege by Daesh-inspired Maute terrorist group in 2017.
 
“Aside from the ongoing infrastructure projects inside MAA, the government, through the TFBM, did not forget about the rebuilding of mosques, as well as madrasahs, damaged during the siege,” Mayor Gandamra said.
The administrators of the three mosques also acknowledged the President and Secretary for their commitment to rebuild Marawi City, especially religious sites.
 
Masjid Darussalam administrator Yusoph Pangadapun Jr. expressed his gratitude to the TFBM chairperson, as well as its partner-developers, for continuously supporting Marawi City’s rehabilitation process, while Sultan Maclin Disomangcop Lanto, the administrator of Masjid Disomangcop, thanked the Duterte administration and the TFBM for their commitment in ensuring that Marawi will return back to normalcy by December 2021.
 
White Mosque chief Cabasaran Ali Pacasarum, on the other hand, highlighted the importance of the mosque’s upcoming restoration, stressing that it will play a pivotal role in helping warring families bury the hatchet and hasten the reconciliation process.
 
“This is a milestone in the history of the Department and Task Force Bangon Marawi. For the first time, we will use the escrow donation component for the building of the first three mosques inside the Most Affected Area,” said Secretary Del Rosario.
 
“No less than our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte stressed during our meeting last March to prioritize the reconstruction of mosques and today marks our strong commitment and compliance to the instruction of our President, hence, construction will commence and will be completed soonest,” he added.
 
Officials from the Ayala-led BellaVita Land Corp. and Property Company of Friends Inc. or Pro-Friends, the contributors of the escrow funds that will be used, were present at the DHSUD Central Office during the MoA signing.
 
In his message, Secretary Del Rosario disclosed that the government, through the TFBM, is keen on reconstructing more or less 30 mosques in Marawi, including the Dansalan Bato Mosque and the Grand Mosque, through donations from private organizations.
 
Reconstructing mosques destroyed during the five-month siege in 2017 is seen by the government as a key component in promoting social healing among Maranaos affected by the conflict. (CVC/DHSUD)