By Charles Dantes
COMMUNITY development in the Philippines has been a go-ahead tool by the government and different business corporations to alleviate poverty. Development programs from seminars to elaborate infrastructure projects have helped those who are in need.
But the year 2017 has been a rough and challenging one for the Philippines, which has been besieged by problems man-made and otherwise.
Last year’s biggest crisis that shocked the whole nation was the battle in Marawi, which lasted for five months. The once peaceful city of Marawi turned into a war zone between members of Islamic State-inspired Maute group and the Philippine Troops, making headlines around the world and putting the Philippines back in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Reports from the Philippine Army revealed that the siege in Marawi killed more than a thousand people, broken down into 822 militants, 163 government forces and 47 civilians--the most number of casualty in the recent memory.
Aside from the death toll, more than half a million civilians were displaced during the time of the crisis, many of whom are still recovering from the trauma which may have scarred them forever.
Known as a prosperous city in Mindanao, Marawi transformed into a ghost town riddled with of bullet slugs, ashes and rubbles.
Architecture and city development experts predicted that Marawi would take decades for the city to return to its old self, needing an estimated amount of P100 to 150 billion for its rehabilitation.
Three quick months have passed and Marawi’s road to recovery is still up in the air and in the hands of urban planners and the government.
Thankfully, many corporations have vowed to pitch in in the rehabilitation efforts, collectively known as “Bangon Marawi.”
To move forward, many private companies have promised support and provide essential needs to help Marawi and its residents get back on their feet.
In April or May, the reconstruction of the key places and the central business district of the city will start with caution to avoid the same mistakes made on typhoon-stricken Eastern Visayas.
As for the social development of the once rich and vibrant culture of Marawi, the restoration of schools, business centers and religious places will be prioritized upon the start of rebuilding process.
Aside from infrastructure projects, the victims of war will also be prioritized as they are expected to receive seminars and medical and psychological checkups on how they can recuperate from their losses while dealing with the trauma brought by the war.
One of the biggest reliefs the city received is the aid from the United States, which donated $6.6 million for the rehabilitation of the city.
Other support came from the San Miguel Corporation, which is building 2,700 houses for the families ravaged by the war. The SMC group has been known for its generous community development programs all over the country.
The “Bangon Marawi” project is also fueled by the livelihood projects that the government is planning. The Department of Trade and Industry is channeling funds to business programs such as mobile rice mills, micro loans, construction of a public market and many more.
“We plan to allocate more budget for this year to support the ‘Bangon Marawi’ programs to provide livelihood assistance to around 80 percent of identified internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 2018,” said Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
With the continuous support, both from the private and government sources, the city of Marawi is slowly but surely rebuilding from the ashes.
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