Marawi City, Philippines, 7 October 2019 – On World Habitat Day, UN-Habitat began construction of the first 500 permanent shelter units of its Japan-funded “Rebuilding Marawi through Community-Driven Shelter and Livelihood” Project. The ceremony included groundbreaking and capsule laying elements, and was held at Barangay Kilala in Marawi City. The event was held in partnership with the Philippine National Housing Authority (NHA), Task Force Bangon Marawi, and the City Government of Marawi.
The permanent shelters will be built for some 500 families displaced by the Marawi siege that took place from May 2017 to October 2017 and who lived in the 3- to 6-meter easement of Lanao Lake. The build site is on a 39-hectare area acquired and developed by NHA.
The event was attended by the Secretary of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development and Chairperson of the Task Force Bangon Marawi, Secretary Eduardo del Rosario; the Human Settlements Officer of the UN-Habitat Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Bernhard Barth; Islamic City of Marawi Mayor Majul Gandamra; as well as officials from the Province of Lanao del Sur and the Islamic City of Marawi, government line agencies from the Task Force Bangon Marawi, and the IDP representatives from the project’s partner communities.
The groundbreaking and capsule laying for the 500 houses closely follows the launch of the project’s livelihood support component on 28 September 2018. The livelihood component is a six-month initiative to complement shelter provision and facilitate socio-economic reintegration of the those displaced by the siege.
“The livelihood project is a response to the livelihood needs assessment (LNA) that was carried out at the start of the Rebuilding Marawi Project,” said Christopher Rollo, UN-Habitat Country Programme Manager. The assessment revealed that support especially in cash-for-work programs and market linkages, access of IDPs to start-up capital, and livelihood opportunities for women, the elderly and female-headed households was needed to complement government interventions and response.
The livelihood component will be implemented through two tracks: the Community-Managed Sustainable Livelihood track, with an allocation of PHP 14.2 million, will be shared and implemented by 13 cooperatives to provide start-up capital for identified micro-enterprise developments; and the Citywide Sustainable Livelihood track, with an allocation of PHP 15 million each for two (2) implementing partners, will promote and diversify existing livelihoods in Marawi City.
With the siege resulting in massive displacement, damaged properties, and disrupted economic activities, the livelihood project endeavors to help strengthen or restore the social fabric and promote peacebuilding among war-affected communities in Marawi City.
Najma Daromimbang Mohammad, 29, a licensed teacher with a certificate in Sharia and Islamic Law, plays an active role as president of the project’s homeowner’s association. In the recent groundbreaking ceremony in Marawi City, she spoke on behalf of the displaced and rallied for continued support from all stakeholders.
“Gone are the days when we had to pay for monthly rent and when we had to stretch our patience for the inadequacies of evacuation centers,” Mohammad says. “Today will be the start when we rebuild our homes…the work doesn’t end here, we will continue to do our part in this project and ensure progress in the construction.”
One of the displaced from the project’s partner communities, Jamila Asam, 33, says, “The livelihood project that we identified will be of great help to us when we start resettling to the shelter units that the project will also be providing us. It will help stimulate economic growth of the ‘new’ community that we hope to build.”
Attendant to the livelihood project launch, UN-Habitat also unveiled two model shelter units at Barangay Sagonsongan. Each two-story shelter unit cost around PHP 205,000, inclusive of amenities, materials, and labor. It can accommodate up to eight family members. About 1,500 of these cost-effective, culturally sensitive, and sustainable shelters – these include those under the NHA partnership – are to be constructed within Marawi City starting October.