House leader urges Marawi City to submit own rehab master plan

MARAWI CITY -- The chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development on Thursday urged the local government in Marawi to immediately submit a master plan on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the strife-torn city.

Negros Occidental Rep. Albee Benitez, committee chair, made the call following an ocular inspection of the 11-hectare Transitory Shelter project here to assess the housing needs of over 5,000 Marawi residents affected by the five-month take-over of the Maute group.

"Mukhang hindi pa tapos yung master plan nila. I advise yung local government na bago tayo magsimula ng rehabilitation, siguraduhin muna natin na meron tayong master plan (It seems their master plan is not done yet. I advise the local government to make sure that they already have the master plan before we start with the rehabilitation)," Benitez said in an interview with reporters.

"Let us make a model city out of Marawi," he added.

Benitez noted that the Sagonsongan shelter project will initially provide 1,100 housing units to Marawi siege victims.

Currently under construction are 22-square meter single detached houses with each unit costing an estimated PHP160,000.

The beneficiaries are expected to be in their new transition homes before December 25.

The city government has identified two more housing sites in Saguiaran, Lanao del Sur and Barangay Bangon here for 1,600 more housing units if the Sagonsongan site is not enough to accommodate the evacuees.

Benitez vowed to push for budgetary support for the Marawi recovery program as soon as the proposed allocation is presented in the lower chamber.

He said the proposed PHP10-billion supplemental budget for Marawi City might not be enough to ensure swift recovery efforts.

"As far as the fund is concerned, we are ready to provide enough funds for them to rebuild the city," he said

"Gusto namin malaman kung magkano kailangan nila, saan nila gagastusin at kung magiging tama ang pag rebuild nila (We want to know how much they need, where will they spend it and if their rebuilding is right)," he added.

Benitez, during the site inspection, also turned over 150 solar kits to provide lighting to evacuees in the transition area.

Source: Philippine News Agency