Other in­puts needed to re­build Marawi, 2

Sun.Star Cebu - - OPINION - MAGS Z. MAGLANA opin­ion@suns­tar.com.ph

In­ter­nally dis­placed per­sons (IDPs) nat­u­rally de­sire to return to Marawi. This will be a big chal­lenge in the case of the es­ti­mated 84,570 res­i­dents of 33 barangays ad­judged by the Marawi lo­cal gov­ern­ment unit (LGU) to be “most af­fected” and who ac­count for 41 per­cent of Marawi’s pop­u­la­tion.

Un­ex­ploded ord­nances, de­bris and other risks make re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion com­pli­cated. For those who are orig­i­nally from other places in Lanao del Sur, the no­tion of “return” per­haps would more re­al­is­ti­cally be a return to their home mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties rather than an im­me­di­ate return to the city.

LGUs around Lake Lanao sig­ni­fied readi­ness to ab­sorb will­ing IDPs. But a com­bi­na­tion of mea­sures is needed to en­tice IDPs to go back to their places of ori­gin.

It is tra­di­tional to pro­vide re­turn­ing IDPs with pabaon or ba­lik-bayan cash as­sis­tance. But it is a pas­sive and in­suf­fi­cient in­cen­tive for those who left their home­towns for bet­ter eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties else­where.

Sus­tain­able return would be a more im­me­di­ate to short-term op­tion for the 39,864 res­i­dents who come from 15 barangays con­sid­ered “less af­fected” and those 83,536 res­i­dents of 48 barangays re­garded “in­di­rectly af­fected.” IDPs who would opt for in­te­gra­tion in host com­mu­ni­ties or set­tle else­where have to be sup­ported so that their choices are in­formed, rather than made by de­fault.

In plan­ning ac­tiv­i­ties con­ducted by the Marawi City and Lanao del Sur Pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ments, par­tic­i­pants rec­om­mended the cre­ation of a fund­ing fa­cil­ity from which IDPs could avail to re­build homes. Own­ers of pri­vate schools and hos­pi­tals in Marawi af­fected by the war are like­wise look­ing for fund­ing win­dows.

While dis­tin­guished as home to the Min­danao State Univer­sity (MSU)-Marawi Cam­pus, the place also has a high num­ber of pri­vate in­sti­tu­tions: 45 pri­vate schools of­fered el­e­men­tary and sec­ondary ed­u­ca­tion, and 21 Com­mis­sion on Higher Ed­u­ca­tion (Ched)-su­per­vised in­sti­tu­tions pro­vided higher ed­u­ca­tion prior to May 2017.

There were also 15 pri­vate hos­pi­tals. Be­yond the avail­abil­ity of fi­nanc­ing, Mer­anaws pre­fer that re­source fa­cil­i­ties are ha­lal or Shari’ah-com­pli­ant and at the very least not charge in­ter­est, which Is­lam pro­hibits.

Rather than mak­ing a me­mo­rial of dam­aged ar­eas and build­ing an en­tirely new city, there have been sug­ges­tions to not aban­don but in­stead ex­pand Marawi’s com­mer­cial com­plex. Af­ter all, it will be up to the peo­ples of Lanao del Sur to de­cide on why, what and how they will memo­ri­al­ize.

Many part­ners will come to the aid of Marawi and the peo­ples of Lanao del Sur, bring­ing their cho­sen frame­works, pri­or­i­ties, ap­proaches and pro­cesses. Pay­ing at­ten­tion to civil­ian voices, vi­sions and views would help en­sure that the sit­u­a­tion mov­ing for­ward does not lead to more alien­ation, marginal­iza­tion and con­flicts.-- from SunS­tar Davao

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