Presented by Prof. Tirmizy Abdullah of the Ranaw Civil Society Organizations during the public hearing conducted by the Senate’s Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation on 21 February 2020
The immediate response of the government to Marawi Siege was the issuance of Administrative Order No. 3 creating the inter-agency task force for the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi known as Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM). But until the order was amended the local government units of the City of Marawi and Province of Lanao del Sur were excluded. The order in its early inception undermined the LGUs, the Marawi IDPs, and historical resiliency of the Mranaws in overcoming the crisis or disaster. After 34 months the TFBM is dismal failure in executing its defined functions, though the longest task force in existence ever created by the Chief Executive of the Republic.
- The TFBM mandate of deploying “a quick response team that will provide for immediate needs of displaced and/or adversely affected families” is already outdated after two years and four months. The IDPs are already at the stage of recovery, thanks to the resiliency of the Mranaws.
- Needs assessment of Marawi, as among the second mandate of TFBM, have been extensively conducted by different International Non-Government Organizations (INGOs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), both local and national. It would be an insult for TFBM if it did not accomplish the task conducting needs assessment given the long period of time since its creation. Along with the assessment is the “implementation of a Bangon Marawi Comprehensive and Rehabilitation and Recovery program” of which TFBM terribly failed. The Ground Breaking ceremony in October that supposedly mark the beginning of the construction of different infrastructures is a mockery to the rules and regulation governing awarding of contract of successful bidders.
- The function of TFBM in “facilitating and overseeing the construction of temporary shelter and/or permanent shelter for displaced persons” is irrelevant with the creation of the Ministry of Human Settlement (MHS) of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM). Even more frustrating is completed housing that remain unoccupied while hundreds of IDPs are still languishing in tents.
- The TFBM also failed in the “restoration of public utilities.” Not a single public utility identified to be restored, such as water and electricity, public buildings and infrastructures, have been restored or reconstructed by TFBM. There may be some on-going construction of infrastructures but definitely not reconstruction of public buildings. It is significant to mention that public buildings in the Marawi Most Affected Area (MAA) are the schools, barangay halls, and health centers. After more than two years, TFBM deliberately failed to restore water and electricity in MAA reinforcing the notion that the government has no honest and sincere intention of allowing the IDPs to return, at least in the commercial center or area.
- As to the “health sanitation, food and other basic needs of the affected residents”, the concerned government agencies are simply delivering usual or mandated services delivery. The TFBM deserves no right to claim the credit in the delivery of those social services, there is nothing new in the government agency delivery of their respective services in times of crisis or disaster.
- The TFBM also failed to “provide environment conducive of the revival of business and livelihood activities.” All the markets established or organized within the City and nearby municipalities are concerted efforts of the Mranaws in trying to bounce back after the siege of the City.
- In “ensuring the restoration maintenance of peace and order”, the TFBM also failed in this respect, killings in the City still persist mostly attributed to rido (family feuds) or drug-related but whatever the causes or motives, the existence of TFBM never curbed the incident of killings and drug trade.
In view of the foregoing, TFBM deserved to be dissolved for failing to execute its defined functions under Administrative Order no. 3. At least two of the eight functions are already obsolete and outdated thereby becoming irrelevant in the recovery, reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi.
Finally, the TFBM is incapable of managing funds for the purpose is intended to rehabilitation. In 2018, 4.5 billion lapsed and has to be returned to the national government. There was also reported anomaly on the awarding of contract between DSWD Region XII – Field Office and the supplies of exposed TFBM failure in exercising supervision over the member of Task Force.
On the Creation of a Commission:
A new body in the form of a commission must be created to replace TFBM whose composition must include IDP representatives currently sheltered in tents, at the temporary or permanent shelters, and the home-based. The Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) must be represented together with the traditional leaders and religious leaders. The commission shall craft or define its functions to ensure the speedy reconstruction and rehabilitation of Marawi.
On the Call for Immediate, Unconditional, Safe and Dignified Return:
The resiliency of the Mranaws have been tested overtimes. We build our City over decades with minimal participation of the government making it appear physically disorganized in terms of distinguishing residential and commercial area and other segments of an urban community proving that the government since time immemorial doesn’t have Land Use Plan much more of zoning, a basic component of any urban plan. But still, over the years we successfully built the city and developed as bustling capital of the Province of Lanao del Sur.
We built our City as the center of Islamic heritage and learning in the country with the presence of Islamic schools offering collegiate levels, a home of mosques listed among important cultural property by different cultural agencies. A large number of Muslim scholars are residents of Marawi City and major religious edicts are decided. For once, even major political decisions of the Muslim communities in this country are decided in the City, particularly at the time when the rein of leadership is in the hand of a religious leader. These and other attributes of the City are nurtured and developed by us. No doubt, if we be allowed to return, surely, we can rebuild our City.