Top UN official lauds TFBM for ‘best’ Marawi rebuilding process

Top UN official lauds TFBM for ‘best’ Marawi rebuilding process

By Arwen Pascua

MARAWI CITY – The Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) has earned praises from a top United Nations official for the rehabilitation of the country’s only Islamic city following the 2017 siege.

United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines Gustavo Gonzalez, who was in Marawi for the Marawi Week of Peace, described the city’s rehabilitation as the “best rebuilding process” he has ever seen.

“We are very proud to be your (TFBM) partners in this rebuilding process … which needs coalitions, alliances … We are proud to see the results of our investments,” the UN official stressed.

TFBM Chairman Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario invited Gonzalez to Marawi City’s most affected area for him to personally witness the progress of the massive government-led rehabilitation.

The UN bigwig likewise graced the turnover of hundreds more permanent shelters awarded to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Marawi City during a key ceremony held in conjunction with the observance of the Week of Peace on Thursday.

Gonzalez joined Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario in the awarding of 462 permanent housing units to beneficiaries in the Hadiya Village in Brgy. Dulay West.

The permanent shelters are part of a housing program led by the UN-Habitat in partnership with the Japanese government and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).

Under the scheme, some 1,000 permanent shelters were built through a USD10-million grant from the Japanese government on land procured and developed by SHFC – a key shelter agency of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development which Secretary Del Rosario also heads.

“The major objectives of the Marawi rehabilitation can be stated into three areas, that is to serve as a catalyst for growth and sustainable development, good governance and for us to have a peaceful environment. And that is exactly the objective of the UN-Habitat in coming up with a community-driven shelter. That is also the objective of SHFC through its Community Mortgage Program,” Secretary Del Rosario stressed.

“But the difference is, as far as SHFC is concerned, there is no mortgage because all of these housing projects will be given to you for free as a total grant because that was the instruction of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. So libre lahat – lahat ng facilities, training, so that you will have a very sound and sustainable community,” the housing czar noted.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra, SHFC President Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling, TFBM Field Office Manager Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr. and other government officials likewise witnessed the turnover ceremony.

Earlier, Secretary Del Rosario toured Gonzalez inside the most affected area to witness first-hand the progress of the rehabilitation, the success of which he also attributed to the concerted efforts of the TFBM’s implementing agencies and the local government unit headed by Mayor Gandamra.

“We are very grateful to UN Habitat, the government of Japan and SHFC for providing the capacity-building activities, training the residents and occupants of this very beautiful Hadiya Village,” Secretary Del Rosario said.

He expressed optimism about the continued partnership between the government, through the TFBM, and the UN in pushing for more development programs meant to uplift the lives of the people of Marawi.

The Marawi Week of Peace is being observed for the fifth-straight year now to commemorate the heroism and unity of the people of Marawi during the 2017 siege. Also highlighting the special occasion is the inauguration of major public infrastructures inside the former ground zero on Friday. (ai/mtvn)

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