By ROGER M. BALANZA
Even government’s delivery of low-cost housing to the country’s homeless has been caught in the web of the pandemic by the deadly Covid-19.
In Marawi City, which suffered massive destruction that rendered thousands homeless in the siege by Moro militants in 2017 on the Philippine’s Muslim city in Mindanao, displaced residents may have to wait longer for government to provide them houses.
The Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC), the government agency tasked with implementing the country’s social housing program, is among the victims of the coronavirus disease.
As Covid-19 struck the country early this year and government projects were put on hold by a government-ordered nationwide quarantine and lockdowns to help stem the spread of the disease, SHFC put on hold a vital housing project for residents who lost their homes in the siege by terrorists on the country’s Muslim capital .
SHFC’s low-cost housing project in Dulay Proper was already on a site development phase when Covid-19 temporarily aborted work on the project.
The housing project, financed by SHFC and in cooperation with the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), was to be the site of 409 Shelter units for the displaced Marawi City residents. Housing for the displaced residents is among the flagship projects of Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), the lead government agency tasked with rebuilding Marawi City. TFBM is headed by Eduardo del Rosario, who also chairs the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD). SHFC is headed by its president, Atty. Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling.
Aside from the Dulay Proper project, the UN-Habitat has three other permanent housing locations in Marawi City: Barangay Kilala, Dulay West and Barangay Gadongan.
Warren Ubongen, project manager of UN-Habitat, said the projects are part of the organization’s “Rebuilding Marawi through Shelter and Livelihood Project” which was started after the 2017 Marawi siege.
“Given the challenging post-siege context of Marawi City, UN-Habitat has been exerting effort to respond to the clamor of the IDPs (internally displaced persons) for permanent shelter,” Ubongen said.
“The homeowners associations under the Rebuilding Marawi Project had shown patience amidst all the challenges that the project face but also they have been actively working with UN-Habitat to find solution on how we can overcome the various challenges,” he added.
Ubongen said that while actual shelter construction has not yet taken off, the livelihood component of the Rebuilding Marawi Project is making its significant contribution in restoring the economy of Marawi City with 31 cooperatives engaging in various enterprises and businesses including transport service, water refilling station, printing shop, groceries and rice wholesale and retailing. (With PNA report)