THE Department of Health on Friday promised to intensify its efforts in rebuilding Marawi City since its liberation from the Maute terrorist group as declared by President Rodrigo Duterte on Oct. 17.
However, the department also recorded 86 deaths in evacuation centers for displaced residents of the war-stricken capital of Lanao del Sur from May 23 to the first week of December, it admitted in a statement.
“The DoH assures the people of Marawi that it will not waver in its efforts to rehabilitate the city through ensuring that their health needs are met on a day-to-day basis,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said.
“We ask our fellow Filipinos there to stay strong and be resilient in the everyday challenges of life. Let us be optimistic that, one day, we will regain the glory of Marawi,” Duque added.
In other developments:
The Department of Social Welfare and Development has set aside P1 billion to assist the residents of Marawi in their recovery through livelihood opportunities.
DSWD officer-in-charge Emmanuel Leyco said the funds are under the agency’s Sustainable Livelihood Program, which gives capital and technical assistance to indigents who aspire to set up their own small businesses.
Also, renowned urban planner and architect Felino “Jun” Palafox on Friday suggested that the ruins of Marawi be preserved and turned into a memorial.
In a radio interview with dzBB, Palafox said that new settlements should instead be created around the ruins.
“My suggestion is, let’s not rebuild the city. Make it a memorial for terrorism, memorial for those who died, and create new modern cities around Marawi and Lanao Lake that will be Islamic, interfaith, international, inclusive... [something] more sustainable, environment-friendly,” he said.
Duque visited the cities of Iligan and Marawi last Nov. 10 to comply with the President’s directive to assist in the rehabilitation of the cities that were affected by the five-month-long siege.
As Marawi enters its seventh week of freedom from the hands of the terrorist group, the DoH continues to respond to health challenges faced by displaced families who may have lost their homes and their loved ones.
Duque said the internally displaced persons or IDPs in evacuation centers were given “TSeKap” services, which includes the provision of medical supplies as part of the ongoing medical assistance to all IDPs, whether in evacuation centers or home-based.
Moreover, psychological intervention has been made available to affected families and service providers in an effort to address their mental health needs, the DoH statement added.
Nutrition, especially of the young children and the elderly, is another important consideration being addressed, it added.
The most recent data from the DoH-Health Emergency Management Bureau indicated that the fighting displaced a total of 77,955 families or 367,990 individuals.
Seventy-six evacuation centers are still in operation, harboring 2,532 families or 8,574 individuals.
Of the 86 deaths recorded at these facilities from May 23 up to the present, with common causes being pneumonia, sepsis, cardiovascular diseases, acute gastroenteritis, and birth prematurity.
A present, a total of 18,801 families or 106,598 individuals from 40 barangays in Marawi have already returned home.
The Amai Pakpak Medical Center and the Dr. Abdullah Hospital in Marawi are operating 24/7, providing relevant medical services, the department said. There are 27 active referral hospitals near the city, with 22 “serviceable” Barangay Health Stations and outposts in Marawi open to the public.
The DoH Central Office, as well as its Regional Offices and partner agencies, have given a total of P222,388,985.61 worth of logistics and funding assistance to the hospitals and evacuation centers in the concerned areas.