By Divina Suson
MARAWI CITY: For more than four years, Norhaima Ditucalan’s family was at her grandparents’ house in Ditsaan Ramain, Lanao del Sur, some 10 kilometers away from Marawi City where they lived for decades.
Ditucalan used to live with her three other siblings and their families at a three-story house in Barangay Datu Naga inside the most affected area (MAA) of the 2017 siege.
Their source of income was a small store on the ground floor.
When the siege broke out on May 23, 2017, Ditucalan’s household fled to Ditsaan Ramain and took shelter with their grandparents.
On Friday, Ditucalan’s family was seen cleaning a housing unit in Barangay Gadongan, site of one of the 250 permanent shelters that the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN Habitat) and the National Housing Authority (NHA) constructed for them.
The 150 units were built by the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), using funds from the Japanese government, while 100 units were constructed by the NHA, which procured and developed the land.
Ditucalan said their new 90-square meter house is small compared to their old one but at least they have freed their grandparents of the burden of taking them in.
“I have six children and it is not good to give my grandparents a noisy environment. I wanted to continue my small store here in my new house using the PHP73,000 cash assistance from the government,” Ditucalan said. “Me and my husband will work together.”
Her siblings are categorized as sharers and the government has no housing program for them yet, according to Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) Chair and Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario.
“With regards to housing, walang para sa mga (there is none yet for) sharers but they were provided with financial assistance (worth) PHP35,000 per family, including those vendors who rented their stalls inside the MAA but lost their business during the siege,” del Rosario said during the press briefing after the turnover ceremony on Friday.
The government declared as “no-dwell zone” the areas within the three to six-meter easement of the Lake Lanao, at the river banks, and within the reclamation area where the government is doing infrastructure projects.
The UN-Habitat had previously awarded permanent shelters to displaced families in Hadiya Village Phase 1 in Barangay Dulay West (109 units), at Phase 2 in the same location (120 units), and at the Pamayandeg Ranao Residences (50 units) in Barangay Mipantao-Gadongan.
The UN agency said 910 permanent houses are slated to be completed by December 2021 in five resettlement sites.
(Philippine News Agency)