MARAWI CITY, Jan. 30 — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte led the distribution of certificates of acceptance and occupancy of transitory shelter units for residents affected by last year’s armed conflict in this city.

Speaking at the ceremonial turn over at Barangay Sagonsongan, the President  appealed to Maranaos to fend off terrorism in order to spare the city from massive destruction and loss of lives.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

“Let us try to avoid terrorism… It is not the correct way to obey Islam. You do not kill and destroy for no reason at all,” the Chief Executive said in his speech.

“Kaya huwag nating papasukin, I beg of you not to allow them to enter because it will just cause massive destruction and the loss of lives, including the innocent ones who are really the helpless in case of war,” he explained.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr.  said the government is on track and ahead of schedule in turning over temporary shelters to displaced families in Marawi.

“I think we’re even ahead. We’ve already finished with 800 shelters and, if I’m not mistaken, there will be more homes that will be finished,” Roque told reporters during a press briefing held at Biyaya ng Pagbabago Transitional Site in the village of  Sagonsongan.

Citing the latest Task Force Bangon Marawi report, Roque said around 200 families received the keys to their housing units in Areas 3 and 4 yesterday, on top of the 150 families who already moved in last January 20 to Areas 2 and 4 of the transitional site. On the other hand, the NHA will also build 2,800 permanent houses.

“These permanent houses will be for those who have Torrens title to their land. In addition to that, for those with their own titles, the government will be giving them financial assistance to build their homes,” Roque assured.

Bai Zorahayda T. Taha, regional director of Department of Social Welfare and Development, said a total of 6,700 temporary shelters will be built by the National Housing Authority. Out of the 6,700 total, 800 units have been turned over by the government.

Dir. Taha  cited 1,000 more families were given the permission to go back to their barangays on January 29.

Jackiya Lao, DSWD assistant regional director for administration, said each of the 400 families were already provided with Kambalingan Packages that include Php 5,000 cash, one sack of rice, groceries, hygiene and kitchen kits.

On May 23, 2017, clashes flared up when soldiers and policemen moved to arrest Isnilon Hapilon, the acknowledged head of the Islamic State in Mindanao and on the list of US most wanted terrorist staying in one of the units of three stores apartment in Marawi.

However, they were met by a big force of gunmen composed of militants from the Maute group, backed by an undetermined number of foreign fighters.

Nearly half million people were affected, mostly covered by DSWD programs like the conditional cash transfer program.

President Duterte declared Marawi liberated from terrorists controll on October 16 after troops killed all the leaders of pro IS militants, including Hapilon. (DSWD-12/JBM)