Envisioning the Future of Marawi City

The exodus of people fleeing from the MBA was impossible to downplay. Even business establishments had to close shop, its owners unmindful of whether their goods could be salvaged or not, because what mattered most was that they got out of Marawi alive. The once lively trading center inside Marawi City suddenly stood still, fading into oblivion where only rubble remains. 

The Marawi crisis widened the divisiveness and mistrust of the Maranaos for the military and the government. Understandably, the Maranaos felt betrayed and viewed the military operations as nothing but a show of might and insensitivity to their needs which were exacerbated by the enemies’ disinformation on the declaration of Martial Law. Majority of Maranaos abhor the extreme violence applied by the ISIS-Maute Terrorist Group. Getting caught in between fires, the Maranaos had to seek refuge in IDP centers, flee to their nearby relatives in the adjacent city, or even go as far as the island of Luzon where at least they felt safer. 

Even the local governments had to take a backseat and let the AFP and the national government take the lead as they implemented Martial law. How could Marawi City LGUs discharge their functions when their key public infrastructure had been captured, burned, and completely destroyed as a result of the fierce fighting between the lawless terrorist group and the security sector?

Now that the battle has ceased, how do we envision Marawi after all these unfortunate events? For the military, despite the negative sentiments from the community, because of what they have lost in the battle, we initiated dialogues with the Maranaos, specifically in Mindanao State University (MSU) to show our willingness to mitigate this. To demonstrate our commitment to the rebuilding and rehabilitation efforts of Marawi City, the Philippine Army, in partnership with Tarlac Heritage Foundation, was the first to complete and turn over housing projects through the Bahay Pag-asa Phase I in Bgy Bito Buadi Itowa, and Bahay Pag-asa Phase II in Bgy Mipaga, Marawi City for the IDPs. These developments took into consideration the comfort, well-being, cultural sensitivity, and the dignity of its intended recipients. 

“The Bahay Pag-asa Project is a great collaborative effort between the Tarlac Heritage Foundation and the Philippine Army who came together to create these shelters, ‘temporary’ though they may be, but still they were created for the people to be able to live with dignity and have a semblance of stability which makes it a very good project.” – His Excellency Jaideep Mazumdar, Ambassador of India

“The facility is well planned and built in accordance with the cultural sensitivities of the people. It also provides a clean and comfortable living environment for its intended residents.” – His Excellency Dr. Aman Rashid, Ambassador of Pakistan

Bahay Pag-asa Phase I was made possible through the donations of the following stakeholders: 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division; 1st Post Engineer Detachment, 1ID; 54th Engineer Brigade; 547th Engineer Construction Battalion; Mechanized Infantry Division (MID); Tarlac Heritage Foundation Isabel and Isa Cojuangco Suntay; the Chinese Filipino Business Club Inc.: William Chua (President), Allan Wong But Loy (EVP), Tomas Ang (Hon. President) Cristino Lim (President Emeritus), Johnny Lee (VP), Alejandro Co (VP), Stephen Sia (VP), Samuel Ong (VP), Emilio Tan (VP), Samuel Lee Uy (VP), Albert Abaya (VP); Corvill Agricom Inc. Anthony Cortez; East-West Seed Company Inc. Michael dela Paz, Ronald Tolentino, Jerrylou Pamunag, and Glynn Alumbro.  

The 1st Post Engineer Detachment, 1ID in action.They completed the bahay kubo in 17 minutes.
Model bahay kubo constructed by the 54th Engineer Brigade and the 547th Engineer Construction Battalion  
Model bahay kubo constructed by the Mechanized Infantry Division (MID) and 1st Cavalry Squadron, MID

Bahay Pag-asa Phase II was made possible through the donations of the following stakeholders: Philippine Army; 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division; 1st Post Engineer Detachment, 1ID; 54th Engineer Brigade; 547th Engineer Construction Battalion; Mechanized Infantry Division (MID); Mr and Mrs Carlos Chan (Oishi); Tarlac Heritage Foundation (THF) Isabel and Isa Cojuangco Suntay; the Chinese Filipino Business Club Inc.: William Chua Yap (President), Allan Wong But Loy (EVP), Tomas Ang (Hon. Pres), Cristino Lim (President Emeritus), Johnny Lee (VP), Alejandro Co (VP), Stephen Sia (VP), Samuel Ong (VP), Emilio Tan (VP), Samuel Lee Uy (VP), Albert Abaya (VP), Carlos Chan (Director), Nolly Ty (Treasurer), Pascasio Ang (Auditor), Directors: Richard Alviar, Robert Ong, Willy Chua, Willy Uy, Juan Go, Henry Lim, Paul Yeung, Gerald Chan, and Robert Tan (Senior Adviser); Corvill Agricom Inc. Anthony Cortez and East-West Seed Company Inc. Michael dela Paz, Ronald Tolentino, Jerrylou Pamunag, and Glynn Alumbro. 

“I think it’s very good that the government, the Army, and volunteers came together. I think the displaced people from the crisis should be better off living in Bahay Pag-asa. I saw the people there and they seem very happy.” – His Excellency Phoxay Khaykhamphithoune, Ambassador of Laos

“I think the Bahay Pag-asa project is an excellent initiative and is being carried out using the best of local products and skills, and I think it fills the necessary gap in housing of displaced persons.” – Her Excellency Kok Li Peng, Ambassador of Singapore

“Our visit to the development of 60 houses complemented by a Hardin ng Lunas vegetable and herbal garden, 60 parking lots for the residents, a basketball court, a volleyball court, the Bahay Kubo playrooms and the Bahay Kubo Learning Center for children made us smile. This showed all of us how much the Government of the Philippines, the Philippine Army, Tarlac Heritage Foundation, The Chinese Filipino Business Club Inc, and Oishi care for the people of Marawi.” – His Excellency Ly Quoc Tuan, Ambassador of Vietnam

“The Bahay Kubo which has been part and parcel of the uniquely Filipino heritage will hopefully ease the pain and suffering of the recipients as they weather the crises that confronts them.” Isa Cojuangco Suntay, Tarlac Heritage Foundation

“The Immediate Shelter and Accommodation Units can be prepositioned in strategically located Army camps for immediate deployment during times of natural disasters necessitating its use — typhoons, landslides, volcanic eruptions, fires, earthquakes, and others. When no longer needed, these units can be dismantled, folded, loaded into army trucks, and returned to their camps to store for future use. Their lifespan is anywhere from a period of five to ten years depending on the care of their end users.” – BGen Rolando Bautista

“The Philippine Army in cooperation with the Tarlac Heritage Foundation has successfully developed and introduced two types of housing innovations: The Bahay Pag-Asa Immediate Shelter and Accommodation kubo which can be assembled in 30 minutes, and creates livelihood for farmers of bamboo, nipa, sawali and coconut. This Bahay Kubo is environmentally friendly, equipped with solar power and a rain water collection system. The Bahay Kubo is also called home by many of our countrymen and certainly more comfortable than living in a tent.

The second Immediate Shelter and Accommodation Bahay Pag-asa Phase 2 features a more permanent form of Housing, and is that which you see being inaugurated today. Once the clearing and groundworks are done, and the cement has been poured and allowed to cure for three to five days depending on the weather, this model house will be completely finished in three days time, provided that all the materials needed for the project are onsite and that there are 12 skilled workers assigned per house. 

Once again allow me to thank the Philippine Army Team for their invaluable contribution to both Immediate Shelter and Accommodation Housing Complexes in the City of Marawi – the 1st Infantry (Tabak) Division; the Mechanized Infantry Division; the 2nd Mechanized Brigade; the 54th Engineering Brigade, Philippine Army; and the 547th Engineer Combat Battalion.” – BGen Rolando Bautista

More details are explained in the book MARAWI AND BEYOND: The JTF Marawi Story. For inquiries, send email to info@marawiandbeyond.com.