By Apipa Bagumbaran

MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) guaranteed that permanent shelters constructed under its Rebuilding Marawi Project are awarded to rightful beneficiaries.

Warren C. Ubongen, UN-Habitat Project Manager, gave the assurance in a press conference, Oct. 15, following complaints that some of the recipients of permanent shelters are not qualified for the project and some were included by the list because they are favored by their village leaders.

“When we started validation sino ba yung mga nakatira sa mga danger areas, hindi namin masyadong kinonsider ang mga barangay captains. Nilakad talaga namin ang gilid ng Lake Lanao at Agus River at doon namin tinitingnan kung sino ang nakatira. Of course, kasama namin ang mga BPATs (Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams) at that time pero kasama din namin Sultanate League,” he said.

[When we started validating who are the people living in the danger areas, we didn’t consider the barangay captains too much. We actually walked the side of Lake Lanao and Agus River and identified who were living there. Of course, we were with the BPATs (Barangay Peacekeeping Action Teams) at that time but the Sultanate League is also with us.]

Ubongen said they conducted an on-ground inventory to determine the number of families living within the three to six meters easement along the Agus River and Lake Lanao areas officially categorized by the government as ‘no dwell zone.’

The government earlier announced that internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in the ‘no dwell zone’ of the city and those whose houses were affected by the development projects within the most affected area will be prioritized in the awarding of permanent shelters.

Ubongen said they also created a Project Steering Committee composed of the Marawi Sultanate League, Ulama Council, Local Government Unit, Task Force Bangon Marawi, and UN-Habitat to validate the identified beneficiaries.

According to him, after they identified the names of the beneficiaries, the list was then posted in key areas including the City Hall.

“May mga tao din naman na sa una ayaw sumama kasi akala nila ay hindi totoo, noong nag start kami mag-awarding yun na, bigla gusto na nilang sumama, so nagsulputan,” he further said.

[There are also people who at first didn’t want to come because they thought it wasn’t true but we started the awarding, suddenly they wanted to join, so they came out.]

To date, UN-Habitat has turned over 429 houses to displaced families of which 109 are located in Marawi Resettlement Site (MRS) Phase 1 or Hadiya Village in Brgy. Dulay West, 120 in MRS Phase II or Darussalam Village in Brgy. Dulay Proper, and 200 in Pamayandeg Ranao Residences at Dansalan in Brgy. Mipantao Gadongan.

100 more houses are also being constructed by UN-Habitat in Barangay Kilala while 372 are targeted to be built MRS Phase III in Barangay Patani. (APB/PIA Lanao del Sur)