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OUR MARAWI: No to aggressive development! No to forced displacement!

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 21 Feb) — It saddens me to learn from some homeowners and land owners from the main affected area (MAA or the former Ground Zero) of Marawi City that agents of “BIG Private corporations” are offering them to sell their house or lands. Worst is reports reached us that some are inclined to sell out of desperation and hopelessness.

We would like to advise and remind our fellow MAA residents to exert more patience (SABR) and not to fall to this kind of machinations. Marawi City is our ancestral land since time immemorial. Our existence even precedes the forming of the Philippine Republic. Our forefathers offered their lives to protect and preserve our land, our deen and culture against foreign invaders. Selling your land will contribute to the eradication of the Only “Islamic City” in the Philippines.

Likewise, we would like to advise Philippine Big Corporations not to take advantage of our miseries and losses. Whatever is their agenda, spare Marawi. We are not against a healthy and fair development, as long as it is religious and culture-sensitive. There are still vast uninhabited areas around the lake (Lanao) that can be developed, if it is the view and climate they are after. We can even build another City or Metropolis outside Marawi without forced displacement of people.

Many Meranaws are growing impatient over the government’s slow or lack of plan on how to move forward with Marawi or inform us if there’s any plan. NEDA (National Economic and Development Authority) is tasked to formulate such plan but until now nothing is being proposed or presented to us to get our consent. But rumors have it that there’s already a plan and contracts were already awarded to private contractors!

According to Annex A of the Items of Works for the Rehab/Reconstruction of Ground Zero (see photo) with a total area of 250 hectares as released by the National Housing Authority through Board Resolution no. 6314 approved on February 7,2018, a joint venture with a private sector entity will be resorted to through the Swiss Challenge. Completion is targeted on December 31, 2021.

The Annex states that 50 meters easement shall be allocated for government infra projects like parks, meaning tens of thousands if not hundreds will be displaced in that plan without their consent. This plan is worse than what happened to us during the siege. As if we don’t exist and deserve any rights over our land and properties.

This plan did not even follow the Water Code of the Philippines which provides among others that only three meters easement is required for Urban areas like Marawi. We are cautioning this Government that forced displacement of people in the conflict affected areas is considered as crime in the eyes of the International Humanitarian Law. They should be very careful especially now that the International Criminal Court is taking interest in the Philippine Government. #MarawiIsOurs #NoToAggressiveDevelopment #NoToForcedDisplacement

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. OUR Marawi is opent o anyone who wishes to share his/her views on what is happening in the country’s lone Islamic City. Drieza A. Lininding is chair of the Moro Consensus Group. Lininding is also Secretary-General of the Bangsamoro National Movement for Peace and Development (BNMPD) and co-founder of the militant youth organization, Free The Bangsamoro Movement. This piece was first posted on his FB wall on 20 February 2018]


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