Press Briefing

Bangon Marawi Press Briefing with OPAPP Secretary Jesus Dureza, HUDCC Chair Eduardo del Rosario, PIA Director-General Harold Clavite, TFBM Field Office Manager, Assistant Secretary Felix Castro, Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, Office of Civil Defense-ARMM Director Raylindo Aniñon, AFP JTF Ranao Deputy Commander Colonel Romeo Brawner Jr., and RPDO-ARMM Director Assad Baunto

Event Bangon Marawi Press Briefing
Location Lanao del Sur

DIR. GEN. CLAVITE:  …For today’s briefing, we are live in Marawi City, the Lanao Del Sur Provincial Capitol. And we are joined by Secretary Jess Dureza of OPAPP; Assistant Secretary Felix Castro, Task Force Bangon Marawi Field Office Manager; Director Raylindo Aniñon of the Office of Civil Defense-ARMM; Colonel Romeo Brawner of the Joint Task Force Ranao; Mayor Majul Gandamra of the City of Marawi; Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong; and of course, Director Assad Baunto of the RPDO-ARMM.

For today’s briefing, I’ll give you a brief report on updates and our resource persons will also give their respective statements and you may ask your questions. For a start, a few updates… President Rodrigo Roa Duterte visited Marawi during the presentation of surrendered firearms. On the topic of promoting lasting peace and countering violent extremism, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte attended first the surrendered loose firearms here at Provincial Capitol [inaudible]. Two thousand seven hundred eight (2,708) loose firearms from Lanao Del Sur, Lanao Del Norte and Zamboanga-Sibugay were turned-in to the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police through the help [inaudible] and the Provincial Government of Lanao Del Sur also provided livelihood assistance to 27 Maute-ISIS who surrendered to the authorities. President Duterte encouraged other terrorist group members to come down and talk about the administration, how the administration can help in improving their lives.

Also as of May 10, through vision of Kambisita, the scheduled visit of IDPs to their properties to the most affected area recently concluded, 10. A total of 10,835 families or 77,[inaudible] individuals have been able to safely entered the  most affected area, and inspect on what’s left of their properties and recovered some of their belongings.

On a related note, a bill seeking provision of assistance and compensation to the residents affected by the siege has been filed by Lanao Del Sur Congressman Ansarrudin Adiong to the House of Representatives on May 16. Task Force Bangon Marawi Chairperson Eduardo Del Rosario—[AUDIO CUT] compensation bill that will pass into law, will serve as a legal basis for appropriate reparations for the people of Marawi.

An update from DSWD, as more residents have already returned to their respective barangays outside the most affected area, DSWD continues to distribute Kambalingan packages consisting of 5,000 pesos cash assistance, one sack of rice, food pack that is good for 17 days, kitchen utensils, hygiene and sleeping kits. This week 5,372 families from 7 returned barangays in Marawi have been scheduled to receive the said assistance.

As of latest data, P436,034,829 worth of DSWD Support and Maintenance Services have been accessed by 41,093 displaced families who have returned to their respective barangays under Clusters 1 to 9. DSWD’s assessment of home-based IDPs in the City of Iligan and other areas in Lanao Del Norte is also ongoing.

As to the observance of Ramadan, displaced residents in various evacuation and relocation sites received relief assistance and services from their local government units. ARMM Humanitarian Emergency Action and Response Team distributed rice and Ramadan package. The Provincial Government of Lanao Del Sur provided Ramadan packs and ‘muknas’ or prayer garments, while the Marawi City local government unit provided rice and grocery packs for the affected residents.

From the Department of Education, the DepEd Marawi City Division ensures that the 47 schools outside the most affected area are ready for the reopening of classes this June. They have also facilitated the Kindergarten Catch-Up Education Program for Marawi learners who would like to be admitted to first grade of the school year. A total of 1,746 students from 39 barangays in the city have enrolled in the said program. DepEd is simultaneously conducting today, May 23rd the closing program for the Brigada Eskwela sa Marawi and the launch of Oplan Balik Eskwela at Amai Pakpak Elementary School.

On donations, the Department of Finance and Japan International Cooperation Agency or JICA signed a grant agreement on May 15th for the release of 2 billion yen which is equivalent to over 900 million pesos that will be used for Marawi rehabilitation and reconstruction. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and JICA Chief Representative to the Philippines Yoshio Wada signed the agreement.

On May 17th, the Philippine Bank of Communications gave a check donation amounting to P147,225 to the Office of Civil Defense. The said donation is intended to aid the people of Marawi City.

Also, the Department of Energy handed over to LASURECO 50 units of solar streetlights which is donated by USAID for the benefit of the residents in the Biyaya ng Pagbabago transitional shelter site in the City of Marawi. The installation of the said streetlights is currently ongoing.

And that’s all for the updates. Now, I give the floor to—first to Assistant Secretary Felix Castro for his opening statement.

ASEC. CASTRO:  This week, we are celebrating the Marawi Week of Peace, it’s from 17 May to 23 May and it will culminate tomorrow. A city ordinance will be passed so that the Marawi Week of Peace will be celebrated on a regular basis every year. During this time, the different government agencies are offering services to the IDPs – DOH for example, had its medical mission; DTI had its trade fair; LTO was there helping those who have problems in the registration; of course Marawi LGU distributed the food packs and rice.

Kanina iyong provincial LGU, nag-kickoff ceremony kami; sila naman ay magbibigay din ngayon doon sa evacuation centers. Iniisip namin na maganda itong tiyempo na gawing every year na maipasa-puso sa mga tao ang kahalagahan ng kapayapaan. Ang tema namin this week: “Peace Starts with Us”. Sinasabi namin na dapat ang kapayapaan ay magsisimula sa atin, at kung tayo ay minamahal natin ang kapayapaan, ang pagmamahal natin sa bansa, sa Marawi… sigurado pong hindi na mangyayari uli iyong nangyari last year.

DIR. GEN. CLAVITE:  Thank you, Assistant Secretary Felix Castro. Now we call on Mayor Majul Gandamra for his opening statement.

MAYOR GANDAMRA:  Maraming salamat po, at we are honored that Secretary Dureza is here. Of course, it gives us a great pleasure to welcome all of you here, today, on the very week that the Marawi siege has happened – happened last year, last year on this very week, on this very day, many of us fled our homes in fear; in fear and grief. Now a year after, we are back here with hope and determination to move forward. We have reason to feel optimistic because the great outpouring of help and love from the nation and beyond has been overwhelming and outpouring.

I’m happy that we are even getting this far and slowly picking up the pieces and moving forward. However, my constant reminder for everyone is this: we can only truly move on if we leave our differences and choose instead to work together as a team, as a community, as a people… to overcome the tragedy and to regain what had been lost in just a space of many months.

I even have this challenge for you Marawi City constituents… how about being on the same level with the premier urban centers of the country, one that is true to its religious and cultural roots, and yet progressive and peaceful enough to become a source of genuine pride among Maranao. It can happen if you want and set our hearts and minds to it. Unity brings so many good and great things to those who choose it.

Kaya po, ako po ay umaapela sa ating mga kababayan na sana po magkaisa po tayo para sa pagsulong at pagbago ng Marawi City. Maraming salamat po.

DIR. GEN. CLAVITE:  Maraming salamat, Mayor Gandamra. Now we call on Assemblyman Zia Adiong for his message.

ASSEMBLYMAN ADIONG:  As-Salaam Alaikum, good morning to everyone. The Province of Lanao Del Sur is one in spirit and in deeds with all the other agencies involved in the Task Force Bangon Marawi, in providing the necessary needs and assistance to more than—up to now I believe, more than a hundred thousand families scattered all over evacuation sites.

We are here today, we are gathered here today to remember those individuals who have sacrificed so much for the liberation of Marawi; from the ranks of our PNP and the AFP, and also those volunteers—and the ordinary people who have volunteered to help out in retrieving dead bodies and rescuing trapped civilians during those harrowing days; during those days which I believe was an incident that would not be likened to any incident happened in our history.

So the question right now, is where do we go from here? I believe the provincial government as I’ve said, is in closed partnership with the local government of Marawi City and the Task Force Bangon Marawi with other line agencies involved to provide the necessary response to the 5 criteria that was set as priority in rehabilitating Marawi City and Lanao Del Sur.

But we would like to remind everyone that the war that started last year in Marawi City actually happened a year before that. It took place in Butig in 2016, and after several months, from Butig they attacked Piagapo and then subsequently ended in Marawi which happened last year, exactly on the same day, May 23.

So where do we go from here? Based on the 5 criteria that was identified as a priority of the government and as of the Task Force Bangon Marawi: reconstruction, education, livelihood and business, security and peace and order, and social services including medical services; the Provincial Government of Lanao Del Sur in closed partnership with Marawi City provided a complementary, an additional workload to compensate and also to help and to augment, complement the works that have been doing by the line agencies involved in the Task Force Bangon Marawi.

In the matter of livelihood, the Provincial Government has partnered with private sectors/private organizations to provide livelihood assistance to our displaced women by giving them technical assistance and trainings to do dressmaking and baking, and culinary/cuisine.

On the aspect of education, the Provincial Government also allotted 8 to 10 million as of last year, to be used for the scholarship program. And right now, we have already 1,000 enrollees from high school, elementary and even up to college.

On the part of the shelter and reconstruction for the temporary shelter in Marawi City – The Provincial government also has managed to discuss [with] families who have space besides Sagonsongan to provide for a shelter that would augment and compliment the number of units that are to be given to our IDPs in site 1, site 2, site 3 and site 4.

All of these ladies and gentlemen have been continuously doing by the provincial government to support the local government of Marawi City and Task Force Bangon Marawi. But we also would like to emphasize that in order for us to move forward and faster with our efforts to provide the rehabilitation efforts – help and assistance to our people – we need to support the Reparation Bill or The Compensation Bill filed before Congress. It has been argued succinctly explained by Secretary Del Rosario that there has to be an allocated budget… dedicated budget, funding, specifically to be used for the rehabilitation and to be used to assist the IDPs whose jobs—whose businesses were lost, whose houses were lost and up to now facing uncertain future.

So we want to encourage everyone to support this bill if we only want to fast track the rehabilitation process for Marawi City. Maraming salamat po.

SEC. DUREZA:  I think today is a good day. I think we should not even be here in celebration but in commemoration of what had happened. And I was asked to write my spontaneous thought – right there in the board – and maybe that will capture everything: ‘Let’s learn from the lessons of Marawi.’

We have seen what Marawi was before, a thriving community, the Islamic City of the country; what happened on May 23 last year and what it is today. But this is not yet the stage where are already satisfied. We are working, government is doing its best to restore as much as possible what was destroyed and I think we are on the road. But we’d like to call on all those who had gone through suffering to please be patient. There is no magic formula here. There is no reconstruction that will happen overnight. There will be a lot of challenges. Not everybody will agree; there will contrary voices and feelings.

But it is very important na ipalabas natin iyong ating gustong ipaabot sa gobyerno. You know why, it is important that there must be some kind of what we refer to as ‘social healing’ – restoring back the moral fiber that was all destroyed because of conflict.

You know, every conflict brings about destruction, not only of structures remember. You know, we can easily build structures by engineers, by contractors, by technical people. But the most difficult part is repairing back the destroyed social fabric, the relationship that had been broken. And I think, this is the most important work, na dapat gawin natin.

We appeal to the media to help in bringing about social healings and not to bring our people further apart, but help out build together and restore that broken social fabric that had been destroyed by conflict.

Kaya nandito kami, in commemoration of what happened in Marawi, and I say again – immediately in my thought, when I was asked spontaneously and then I wrote on the board: ‘Let the Marawi experience be a source of lessons for everyone.’ Hindi lang lesson sa gobyerno, hindi lang lesson sa ating government agencies. But most importantly, lesson sa taongbayan – Why did this happen? And you know better bakit nangyari ito at mas makakabigay kayo ng direction sa gobyerno, hindi dapat ang national government magde-decide ano ang dapat gawin. This will all come from you downstairs, which is a very important part of social healing.

And there must be justice as emphasized by Mayor Majul kanina. Transitional justice is very important. We cannot move on and make things already feel normal and better if there is no justice given, the correct justice needed, to redress the wrong that was committed and that will be a start of the social healing. There will be no full healing of relationships unless justice is served.

How will we do it? It is something that we have to do together, not only government, not only government institutions, but ang pinakamahalaga iyong taongbayan mismo. Maraming salamat po. Thank you.

DIR. ASSAD BAUNTO/RPDO/ARMM:  Magandang umaga po sa inyong lahat. Ako po ay nandito para i-represent ang ating Office of the Regional Governor, si Governor Mujiv Hataman, at ang kanyang mga ahensiya. May na-prepare po tayong kaunting statement dito.

Ngayong Ramadan or peace week ay napapanahon na kailangan nating pag-isipan ng mataimtiman ang ating mga haharapin upang tuluyang masuportahan at maipatupad natin ang ating mga plano, mga programa, mga aktibidad sa komunidad. May mga katapat na istratehiya na puwede nating gamitin.

Una, mainam at epektibo sa pagpapatupad ng mga plano at programa para sa IDPs ng Marawi lalung-lalo na sa ground zero at saka karatig bayan nito ang pagsama o isama sa pagpapatupad ng mga plano, paggawa ng mga plano ang mga lider or ang mga kinatawan nito ng mga komunidad kasama na dito ang traditional leaders, ang youth, mga kababaihan at saka mga businessmen.

Sapagkat ang participation ng community leaders ay may karapatan din silang gumamit or gumawa ng hugis ng pang-urban ng espasyo kung nasa loob ng Marawi or pang-rural na espasyo kung nasa labas ng Marawi.

Pangalawa, ay kailangan din nating bigyan ng pansin at suportahan ang business at palaguin ang business and livelihood sapagkat mahuhusay na mangangalakal at tagumpay sa komersiya ang mga Maranao. Kadalasan ay lagi nating pino-pursue na ang business and livelihood ay pinangungunahan dapat ng private sector. Pero sa di pangkaraniwang sitwasyon na ganitong nangyari sa Marawi, kailangan ng suporta ng gobyerno.

Kailangan din nating i-invite ang mga Maranao sa ibang sulok ng Pilipinas o sa ibang bansa na maglaan ng investment dito sa Marawi, sapagkat napapanahon po na malaki ang pangangailangan or demand kumpara sa supply sa pang-lokal na ekonomiya sa merkado dito sa Marawi at sa Lanao Del Sur.

Pangatlo, ang usaping lupa ay puwedeng maging isang balakid sa pag-unlad dito sa Marawi. Kaya kailangan natin ng aktibong diskurso ang usaping lupa sa rehabilitasyon at saka usaping pang-unlad.

May mga ilang options na puwede nating tingnan. Ito ang tawag natin ay hybrid approach, sa pagresolba ng pagmamay-ari ng lupain. Ibig sabihin, ang mga legal na dokumento, mga titulo, mga pruweba ng actual occupancy, ng traditional ownership at saka kung anu-ano pang administratibong datos, kasama ang community mapping ay puwede nating gamitin para sa validation.

Pang-apat, ang tuluyang pagtanggap ng plano, mga istratehiya at mga programang rehabilitasyon at pag-unlad sa komunidad ay nakasalalay kapag naisama natin ang sensitibong pang-kultura. May mga sensitibong pang-kultura na kadalasan ay tingin natin ay hindi importante dahil puwedeng taliwas siya sa conventional practice o puwede rin dahil nag-o-overlap siya sa ibang tema or sector. Halimbawa, ang mixed use urban planning at saka ang consensus building ay tugma at sang-ayon sa tradisyon at kultura ng mga Maranao.

At panglima, maraming mga pangunahing serbisyo ang nailaan at napamigay ng pamahalaang-pangrehiyon ng ARMM at ating mga ahensiya simula nangyari ang gulo sa Marawi noong Mayo 2017 at patuloy-tuloy ang paglingkod natin sa mga pamilyang IDPs at komunidad. Halimbawa lang nito ay nakatulong ang opisina ng Gobernador pang-rehiyon ng ARMM at ating mga ahensiya na higit-kumulang sa 3,000 IDPs na families sa evacuation center sa Marawi at Saguiaran ngayong araw ‘no, sa Iftar (break of fast) at medical mission na gagawin.

Meron din tayong 7,307 na pamilya—7,307 to 10,600 na pamilyang IDPs sa pagbigay ng Ramadan gift package noong isang lingo.

Pangatlo, mga pangunahing serbisyo ng ARMM convergence – katulad ng pagpapa-aral ng mga bata at matanda, pangkabuhayan, pangkalusugan at iba pa na ginanap sa ARMM People’s Day dito sa Marawi at sa ibang lugar sa Lanao Del Sur noong isang buwang nakalipas.

At pang-apat, patuloy sa paggawa ng mga palengke at pampubliko sa Bubong at Saguiaran at mga temporaryong pabahay sa Saguiaran. Ang pagpasok ng Bangsamoro na papalit sa ARMM ay taos puso nating sinusuportahan sa pagpasa ng BBL sa Kongreso. Layunin po natin na handang-handa ang ARMM na may magandang transisyon para tuloy-tuloy ang pagbigay ng mahahalagang serbisyo sa komunidad lalung-lalo na sa mga pamilya na nasalanta ng unos tulad ng nangyari sa Marawi at ibang parte ng Lanao Del Sur.

Ang rehabilitasyon, pagsusumbalik at pag-unlad ng Marawi at ilang munisipyo sa Lanao Del Sur ay kaya nating tugunan pag sama-sama. Let’s build communities forward and much better. Maraming salamat po.

RADYO PILIPINAS/MARAWI: A pleasant morning or high noon—good high noon everyone. My first question is addressed to TFBM, Task Force Bangon Marawi, Asec. Castro, sir. You have mentioned a while ago, sir, DG Harold that 47 schools outside the most affected areas or the 24 barangays in Ma-a will be opened on June. What happened to the school inside Ma-a? So I’m sure there’s a plan of the Department of Education that all schools there in Ma-a will be clustered and what happened to the teachers inside Ma-a schools? That’s my one question.

And then my next question is addressed to the OPAPP, sir, Secretary Dureza. We will be pouring billions of funds to Marawi City for it’s infra projects, education, livelihood and others. What about the spiritual aspect of the IDPs in Marawi City which is more equally important to some other projects; do you have project for the spiritual? You have said a while ago, that social problems of Marawi residents. So kinakailangan siguro i-repair iyan. So, kailangan natin iyong programa para sa social and the spiritual aspect of the IDPs in Marawi City. So iyon lang po muna ang aking katanungan. Maraming salamat po.

DIR. CLAVITE:  For the question on DepEd, unfortunately si Secretary Briones they have an ongoing Brigada Eskwela right now and they were supposed to come also pero nagkasabay kasi iyong schedule. The report that was given to us was the 47 schools that will be opened. But, taking note on your question, we will get the information today from Secretary Briones.

Asec. Felix…

ASEC. CASTRO:  Yes, right now, the DepEd is concluding its Brigada Eskwela sa Marawi. For the past several weeks, they have repaired the 47 schools that is outside the most affected area. Inside the most affected area, there are around 22 schools, but these will be consolidated into around 3 or 4 bigger schools. It is the intension of DepEd, per our meetings, to have a better quality schools and increase the enrollment, because they have so many schools, but the enrollment is not really that much.

So, according to them, they will consolidate some of the schools and encourage more students to enroll. But this will form part of the development plan for the most affected area. One of the requirements is to rebuild the public schools that were destroyed during the siege.

SEC. DUREZA:  Iyong akin, the question directed to me. The spirituality we leave that to your respective religious leaders. As you know very well, when Marawi happened last year, OPAPP was there to provide an opportunity for expression first of anger as part of the Iftar, remember? When Iftar took place in the evening, we had requested the help of your religious leaders and other respective leaders to dialogue with the victims of conflict [to] get from them, you know, that feeling that they have inside. There will be no easy healing if you don’t allow opportunity for a vent that will allow them to express first. And during that time, it was also an opportunity for us to get from them directly what they wish to do with their lives at that point. Because we believe that social healing can only take place if there is ownership by them who are the victims. It is not for anybody upstairs who were able to provide to them the solution; they provided it themselves.

So we provide that opportunity also and we will continue to do so during the Ramadan here and OPAPP has lined up certain activities similar to that.

You know, it’s very important that we… in implementing projects that OPAPP is part of in Task Force Bangon Marawi, we must also put a peace lens to what we are doing. We cannot support projects that will even trigger more unpeace or more conflict.

Remember, there must be inclusivity in the work… in the development work in restructuring buildings that were destroyed. Kasi kapag walang inclusivity diyan, may ibang magsabi, bakit sila lang? Bakit kami wala?  Bakit kami excluded?  That will create another area of unpeace and conflict.

So, we are putting those thoughts together with our workers at Task Bangon Marawi and the local government and we are glad that they are giving a lot of importance to these concepts. It might be a little parang abstract sa karamihan ano. Sabi nila gawin na lang natin iyong mga buildings, okay na iyan. No, sir! You will not provide the social healing, the healing of the hurt that—makikimkim pa ng karamihan kung hindi natin i-confront iyan at provide an opportunity for that. But the spirituality, we leave that to your respective religious leaders.

DIVINA SISON/INQUIRER:  My first question is for Asec. Castro. Sir, if homeowners are only allowed to go back, rebuild their house in the most affected areas after the debris management and eventually horizontal works. Saan natin ilalagay ang mga dating sharers and renters na gustong tumira ulit sa loob?

And my second question is for the LGU-Marawi. Mayor, may we know of the latest count of cadavers or human bones or skeletons that were buried in Maqbara and when was the latest burial [that] happened?

ASEC. CASTRO:  Iyon pong homeowners ano, sila iyong papayagan nating magtayo ng bahay uli doon sa most affected area, kasi unang-una sila iyong may-ari noong building. Iyong sharers, eventually kapag tumayo na iyong building, it is now up to the owners kung they will take them back into their residents. For the renters, we have encouraged them to return initially to their places of origin; DSWD has a program for that, they are giving support. And around 400 plus have actually returned to their places of origin. Ang sabi namin, at this point in time hindi kaya ng lahat ng nakatira doon, hindi kayang bumalik pa. But eventually kung talagang naayos na natin ang Marawi and they still want to go back to Marawi, then they have the choice to return back.

MAYOR GANDAMRA:  Maraming salamat po doon sa katanungan. Based doon po sa ating nakuhang information from the in-charge of this process, as of the Kambisita po, mayroon ho tayong nakitang 9 skeletal remains ng mga tao. And doon naman po sa katanungan na ilan na po ang nailibing doon sa Maqbara, as of now po ay more than 200 na po, more than 200. But some of them were identified by their relatives and were transferred to some other places, especially our Christian brothers and sisters who perished during the siege.

Q:  Sir, a year after Marawi crisis, saan na po ba talaga tayo? I mean, sabi natin we’ll start the rehabilitation on June, am I correct, sir?

ASEC. CASTRO:  That is the plan.

Q:  That is the plan… Sir, is that realistic na ba?

ASEC. CASTRO:  No, we based it on plans. Because plans are made given the situation, the data available, hindi ba. So as our plan, given if we will be following the timeline, it will be at the middle of June, we could start the rehabilitation.

Q:  Do we have a developer na po ba, sir?

ASEC. CASTRO:  Wala pa. May lead proponent na tinatawag, but ongoing pa iyong negotiation; inaayos pa iyong final plan. We had a series of conversations, consultations from the first week of April until the first week of May. Pagkatapos, all the inputs from the stakeholders will be studied, considered and gagawa ng final plan, final cost… then there will be negotiation with the government – doon na magkakaroon ng Swiss challenge after magkasundo.

Q:  Yes, sir. So—I mean, realistic po ba iyong plano natin na by June mag-start na tayo ng rehabilitation? Kasi, a lot of people are very frustrated sir. When we get the chance to talk to them, some of the Maranaos na nasa shelter pa rin, ang sinasabi nila parang masyado nang matagal daw sir iyong ginagawa natin na rehabilitation – they feel excluded. Ano ba sir iyong pupuwede nating maipangako sa kanila?

ASEC. CASTRO:  Kaya nga po tayo ay minamadali natin iyong proseso, at kaya tayo ay nag-set ng middle of June. Sabi ko nga, nagkaroon tayo ng series of consultations, first week of April hanggang early May – ito ay para kunin iyong mga saloobin noong mga different sectors ng Marawi. Ayaw naman nating madaliin in such a way na hindi maayos iyong gagawing plano, at hindi mai-consider iyong mga gusto ng mga tao na makikinabang sa baba.

Q:  Alright. Sir, last question po kay Assemblyman. Sir even before, sinasabi natin na kapagka masyadong matagal, parang iyong frustrations ng mga tao ang concern natin dito, baka mas maraming sympathizers iyong makuha noong mga terorista. Kasi even until now, there are reports na continuous pa rin iyong recruitment nila around the province. So how are we going to handle the situation, or how are we handling the situation?

ASSEMBLYMAN ADIONG:  I think it’s more of managing the expectation and opening the communication line between government offices and the people at large. Kasi—well we don’t actually question the process, why the government is meticulously doing consultations and then acquiring legal grounds, putting up the technical specificities in terms of the reconstruction, prior to the reconstruction. We don’t question that, if it means delaying the process and we also do not question but rather we understand the frustration of the people.

Because sabi ko nga, one day in an evacuation center is already too long for someone who have lost everything. So somewhere along the line, there has to be an open communication between the Task Force, the LGUs and the people. So that if ever we want to provide information, kailangan po klaro sa kanila at they would also need—they also have to be assured that in terms of the reconstruction, it doesn’t necessarily mean repairing the damaged areas – it should also mean preserving the identity of the victims. Ultimately, we need to transform them into development partner.

And I think the frustration comes from the fear of expulsion, fear of not knowing what’s going to happen. And that can be managed by how the agencies would able to inform the public. There has to be somewhere along the line, there must be an open communication – we can develop that further para maintindihan po ng taumbayan ano iyong proseso na ginagawa.

Q:  Hi sir, I am Jamela. I’m the correspondent of Al Jazeera. My question is for Asec. Castro. We spoke to civilians yesterday and—especially those who are waiting to return to their homes. What they say, they have been asking from TFBM, is to allow them to rebuild their homes; as government rebuild its government facilities. So, why are they not being allowed to do that?

Also, do you promise not to demolish or bulldoze any private property without clearance from the owners? Is it something that you can promise, because that’s what they fear, that they might come back without their existing or whatever is left to their structures? And as you know, some areas in Marawi are problematic because there are no titles. A lot of it are really extrajudicial settlements, so how are you going to fix that? Basically they need assurance that they will still have a hold of their homes, and why are they not being allowed to rebuild their homes, which is a very basic?

ASEC. CASTRO:  Yeah. In fact this is what we have been telling them, and this is in fact what we are telling during consultations – that we will not touch private properties. The rehabilitation will only involve government infrastructures. We have been telling them that, series of consultations with the different sectors, and we will continue to inform them that we will not touch their property. The only property that might be touched with their permission is during the widening of the road. There are selected roads that have been agreed upon, that this needs to be widened. The owners will be consulted and they will be paid by the government.

Demolition, we will not demolish private properties without their request. They have to inform us that they want their properties to be included in the debris clearing. Because part of the requirement for the developer that will be chosen, is to clear the debris initially of government properties/government buildings. And if the owners so desires, the private residents could be included. We have requested and explained to the residents that we need time for the developers to do first the debris clearing.

It’s a very tedious task using big equipment, big machineries and will be dangerous for people to also be there while the debris clearing is being undertaken. And it will be faster if the developer will work free and unhampered; the sooner that will be finished, the sooner that the residents can also start building their homes.

Q:  Sir so to clarify, you commit that they will be able to rebuild their own homes after you’ve cleared the debris?

ASEC. CASTRO:  Debris and horizontal preparations. The horizontal includes the laying out of the sewage, the lines for the telecom, electricity and the expansion of the roads.

Q:  You have a timeline for that?

ASEC. CASTRO:  It’s around 12 to 18 months.

Q:  So that means they will have to live in these evacuation centers for another year or more, right?

ASEC. CASTRO:  No, we have plans to close the evacuation centers within the year and that is why we are rushing to finish as many temporary shelters that we can. Right now, we have two sites ongoing Buganga and in Sagonsongan, that’s around 2,100. We have 54 (unclear), we have 60 for Mipaga, 1132 for Sagonsongan, 261 for Bakwit Village. So, it will be a continuing construction of temporary shelters so that those who are in evacuation centers could be transferred where they can wait for the chance to eventually construct their residences.

Q:  Thank you, sir—sorry, just one more question for Mayor Gandamra or for Col. Brawner. How many really are missing in the war, in terms of the number of people missing? Because if you go to evacuation centers and you speak to people, a lot of them really do have missing relatives and so many of them are afraid to come forward and report the missing out of fear that they will be listed as one of those sympathizers who joined the Maute. But do you really do have a record of those missing persons, those presumed  dead and those who have been recovered and unidentified?

MAYOR GANDAMRA:  Thank you, Ma’am for the question. First, as you have said, there were fears of some reporting to the proper authorities; that’s the reason why we are having hard time to really come up with an accurate number of dead person or missing persons because of that dilemma. But as of now, I’ve learned from some source that we have at least 50 missing persons.

So iyon po ang aming problema, dahil marami pong sinasabi na nawawala, pero hindi pa po nagre-report, especially po sa City government, dahil tayo po ay meron po tayong Civil Registry kung saan puwede nating ipaalam iyong mga namatay or iyong mga nawawala or nandiyan po, open po ang ating opisina. But some of them, as you have said ay natatakot po, for fear of being branded na baka sila po ay kasama doon sa pumasok or lumusob sa Marawi City.

Q:  For my last question. You filed, there was a reparation bill right that is supposed to compensate those who have lost their homes. So, it’s not part of the existing TFBM structures?

ASSEMBLYMAN ADIONG:  I don’t think so. It’s outside of the 50 billion pesos earmarked by TFBM, as a part of the—iyong 50 billion is actually… the basis of that is iyong assessment, you have PCNA and just last month, Task Force Bangon Marawi requested the Regional Assembly to adopt the resolution for the 50 billion pesos to be used for Marawi. And we have learned that’s actually a budget to be used for outside of MA.

So the reparation budget, compensation budget is outside of the budget for… iyon nga iyong 50 billion pesos. Kasi right now, I believe the Task Force Bangon Marawi, ongoing—and they have already—they also asked our Congressmen to file a bill, because the problem is they are having a hard time looking for budget for the reparation.

Kasi—of course the budget to be used for the reconstruction would solely covers the public utilities, public infrastructures, it’s not so much on… not so much for the private. So what happens now, if ma-reconstruct iyan and then private businesses, establishments and houses are hindi ma-repair. So that’s actually the problem, challenge. So—that is why we need an act of Congress to include that in the GAA, General Appropriations Act, that there is going to be dedicated ‘no, a specific budget for the reparation to the families, to the victims and the families whose houses were burned and businesses were lost.

Q:  Sirs good morning. Sir, I would like to get your opinion and your thoughts on this, because there are reports regarding two companies involved in the consortium, that they were once blacklisted by the World Bank. So, meaning there were problems during the construction activities that they have done in the past. So, hindi sila naka-fulfill ng promise nila and that’s why they were blacklisting.

So, sir, since at this point, they are part of the proponent for the rehabilitation of Marawi City. I would like to ask your thoughts on that. So, makaka-apekto ba ito, sir, sa confidence natin, that you know, that they will able to deliver to their promise? So my question is for Asec. Castro, kay Assemblyman Adiong, kay Mayor Gandamra at saka kay Secretary, sir.  Ayaw mo? O sige, sir, sa kanila na lang tatlo, Okay, sir.

MAYOR GANDAMRA: Doon po sa katanungan about this—the report on the the would be winner of this reconstruction/rebuilding of Marawi. During the last meeting where the Task Force Bangon Marawi and other stakeholders po sa Manila, I asked that to the developer.  Kasi I was informed also, about this thing. Tinanong ko po to enlighten the people and the public kung itong… totoo ba itong report and sabi ko, ipaliwanag natin. And according to them, they confirmed that there was this black listing of their company, itong dalawang kumpanya at it was… according to them, it was lifted. So, sabi ko ay doon naman sa aspeto na—as to the legal impediment ay wala naman sigurong legal impediment, because sabi ng  kuwan eh, they were delisted from the… iyong na-black list.

Pero morally speaking, doon po natin puwedeng ma-question ‘no. At sa tingin ko po ay puwedeng magpaliwanag din si Asec. Castro regarding this and si Assemblyman Zia.

ASEC. CASTRO:  Hindi po ako puwedeng magpaliwanag. I’m sorry, I do not know the details about that. This is handled in the main office. From what I know, they are determining the… iyong capacity of these developers to really perform the job at hand ano. But as to the details noong suspension at saka ano, I am not in the position to comment on that. I do not know all the details, sorry.

ASSEMBLYMAN ADIONG:  Well, in the case of reconstruction, we have to look at two things ‘no. The legal… legality and perception. And legality is easier to address, you just have to provide the necessary documents and then proof to any offices, agencies or to the court that you are capable, eligible to handle a certain project.

But here in Marawi City we are also dealing with battle of perception. And I guess, what the good Secretary,  Secretary Dureza  was saying about social healing, it also has something to do with community relationship, repairing community relationship. We have had the experience of Yolanda. And we do not want any reason to replicate what happened at least on the perception of the people.

We want to insulate the minds of the people from ever thinking that there’s a semblance of you know questionable dealings in the process. We avoid the misconception that might arise in the minds of the people that because there are several developers involved, possible potential developers that are to handle the reconstruction with a questionable past and that might lead to something not only frustration, but it may lead to something worse than frustration or disappointment. And we cannot afford that to happen.

Perhaps, what we want here, because of you know, we do not only repair Marawi City, the damages, but we also want to win over sympathies, support and confidence of the people  to the government – that the government can indeed deliver the promises to rebuild Marawi.

And the first thing to do that, is to win the sympathy, perception of the people – that there won’t be any cloud of doubt; from the planning down to the implementation of the process. So this is very delicate, we want—if there are potential developers that are to involve during the reconstruction, we want a developer with sterling background and record. 

MAYOR GANDAMRA:  Gaya po ng sinabi ko kanina, legally speaking and technically speaking, there is no problem with that. But morally, the reconstruction or rebuilding of Marawi City should be devoid of any stigma of impropriety so that we can avoid any—as Assemblyman Zia has said cloud of doubt as to the—who will undertake the development and reconstruction of Marawi City.

Q:  Point, are you already amenable or are you not amenable for them to continue with the reconstruction and for them to be involved in this particular development?

MAYOR GANDAMRA:  It will be the call of the developer and the Task Force Bangon Marawi.

DIRGEN CLAVITE:  Additional information on that also, based on information received by the Task Force, while it is true that two of those companies have been debarred in the past, the debarment were fully served in 2014 and 2015. And as of 2018, wala na po sila doon sa blacklist ng World Bank.

Q:  Yes sir. Sir na-confirm na ng TFBM so anyway [laughs]… Anyway sir, to be able to move on sir ano, because we talked about social healing and the Mayor was talking about… sir kasi hindi kami iyong gumawa noong study. Yes, sir…

SEC. DUREZA:  You are creating a doubt eh immediately. And now we are asking you to clarify, and then you will decline to give the information?

Q:  Sir, sorry. Sir we are not creating that doubt, because TFBM said that they confirmed that it is true, that it happened in 2014 and the ban was lifted 2018

DIRGEN CLAVITE:  Yeah, the debarment was fully served in 2015 and 2014… at least for two companies. But as far as… as of 2018, hindi na sila naka-blacklist. So they’re clear. As of right now, they’re clear.

Q:  Anyway, sir moving on to my next question. Because you’re talking about social healing and the Mayor was talking about justice. And the Mayor earlier mentioned about his support to the government’s call for Maute members to surrender, but you are calling for justice. Sir, what’s your thoughts about, you know, giving money on the surrenderees and giving them educational scholarships? Because in one hand sir, some residents are actually—some residents are actually saying that if they can give it to Maute members who surrendered, why the government can’t give it to those who were actually affected by the war, iyong mga nawalan talaga? So your thoughts on that sir, please.

SEC. DUREZA:  Yeah, that’s exactly what I said earlier. What you do here in dealing with the situation, is not create again, issues of unpeace with those who will not be provided the same attention. You know, I always refer to this World Bank language called ‘moral hazard’. Moral hazard happens, if you attend to the bad guys and then you don’t give equal attention and benefit to those who have been peaceful, then you will now prompt those who have been peaceful to say, “Are we also going to take up the gun and also be bad guys before you give attention to us?

That is the reason why, as I said earlier, in all the projects that have to be undertaken –whether for the surrenderees or not – there must be transitional justice. You cannot just forgive everybody in the same one-swap of a… you are forgiven, unless there is also some form of a transitional justice that will have to be—make these people realize that they have committed something and you cannot quiet the anger of those who have been in anguish of their actions if you will just immediately, you know say, you’re okay now and we can move on forward.

So, that is very important. That’s why I said it’s very important, although it’s difficult to really implement but that is our guidance when we are asked at OPAPP, our contribution to the Task Force Bangon Marawi. First there must be inclusivity; those who are in similar situations must also be given equal treatment and equal benefits. And we see to it that those who have been peaceful, should also be given the same kind of attention if not more, than those who had created problems for us. Otherwise, you will trigger again issues of unpeace or conflict.

Q: So sir, are you recommending the continuation of that program, or we do something else? Parang magkaroon lang ng—sabi ninyo nga para maging patas—

SEC. DUREZA:  Ah iyong sinasabi mo? Masyado pa iyang speculative, nauuna ka eh. Wala… I mean, all of these are still being looked into, hindi ba? Anong gawin doon… eh bakit nauna ho kayo? Masyado kayong naghahanap ng angle lang ha…

Q:  Hindi sir… sir, nangyari na po siya last time na nandito si Pangulo. So they gave scholarships programs to those surrenderees and even gave cash incentives.

SEC. DUREZA:  Yes. In fact you know what he announced? Iyong binibigay natin doon sa surrenderees ng mga Communist Party/NPAs, we must also give to the Bangsamoro. But you have to deal with them in a fair manner, of those similarly situated. Alam mo kasi, you have to address also the root cause of why they are fighting. Remember, many of them feel that they’re excluded to society, that there is no life in where they are, in the mountains and in the environment that they are circulating. And you have to address that, and pinaka-long term would be education, providing education to their young.

Maraming nagrerebelde, hindi naman dahil ang iba ay ideologically committed. Ang iba diyan na-impel lang because of the environment, the situation that they feel that they are not given attention to. And the President is very creative in approaching that ‘no. Kaya sabi niya, kung nagbibigay tayo doon sa surrenderees ng NPA, bakit ‘di natin ibigay din sa mga Bangsamoro?

And you noticed in… I don’t know whether I’m free to disclose this or whether you know this already, but military is in the best position to do this – the Abu Sayyaf, ASG group in Basilan had been almost—not totally demolished, but even their highest leader have already come around and had given himself in. And very significantly, while he went in to government, there was a send off group of his commanders, sending him off. Meaning, they will watch also how we treat their commander who had given himself up and perhaps they will measure on whether or not that will also make him a decision of also giving up.

So there is a hard approach to the bad guys, but you cannot be continuously hard – there is a balancing of the soft. The right hand and the left hand approach, and that is where the President is very good at ‘no.

Q:  Sir, what’s the process for these residents who do not have titles? We understand there’s a big part of Marawi that is a military reservation, and there are even people who used to live inside the camp that had to be asked to leave the area. So they still have their homes there, they were forced to live in tents; and there are others who live outside the camp but are on military reservation areas, they don’t have titles. What’s the process for these residents, sir?

COL. BRAWNER:  Well, the process is still the same for any residents without titles. It’s still the same. We are not treating them differently, but they still have to undergo the process of the law. So iyon pong mga nakatira sa loob ng kampo na wala namang titulo, of course they will not be allowed to come back.

And when it comes to the issue of the military reservation, nabanggit po ng ating Pangulo at ng ating Secretary of National Defense that the military will only retain what it needs. And it has been determined that the military will only retain Kampo Ranao, and the 10-hectare battalion headquarters that will be built on the other side of the river ‘no, near the main battle area or the most affected area, iyong 10 hectares.

Sir if I may add, very quickly about those who surrendered recently… among the 27 who surrendered and were presented to the President last week, some of them are included in the Arrest Order Number 1 of the Department of National Defense and Arrest Order Number 2. So they will have to still be processed, and they will still have to undergo a certain legal procedure – because as mentioned, they were included in the arrest orders. So hindi po mawawala iyong kanilang mga liabilities, but they will still have to be given due process as well. 

Q:  [off mic]

COL. BRAWNER:  Hindi po. Ang sinasabi natin is within the military reservation, iyong Kampo Ranao lang ‘no, iyong Campo Ranao. We’re not talking about the whole military reservation ‘no.

Q:  [off mic]

COL. BRAWNER:  Sa ngayon, it’s being—there’s some talks being done between the—

Q:  [off mic]

COL. BRAWNER:  Yes.

Q:  [off mic] 

COL. BRAWNER:  We have delineated the boundaries of Kampo Ranao, and we have come up with 50, around 50 hectares. At doon po sa 50 hectares na ito, wala na pong mga illegal residents dito. 

Q:  [off mic]

COL. BRAWNER:  No. Anyway, pinag-uusapan pa nila ito.

DIRGEN CLAVITE:  Maraming salamat. Thank you sa lahat ng nandito, at sa ating mga resource persons. As we close this press briefing, we’ll just play a video on Marawi. Maraming salamat po at magandang tanghali.

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Source: PCOO-PND (News and Information Bureau-Data Processing Center)

 

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