By Ali G. Macabalang
Cotabato City – The full-scale rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City will commence at the flattened section of the Islamic community’s so-called Ground Zero sometime in mid-June or after the observance of Eid’l Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.
This was announced by Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra in an interview Monday, during which he also heralded his office’s preparation for activities today, May 23, which marks the first year since the bloody siege, perpetrated by the Maute Terrorist Group, broke out in his city.
The mayor did not give details about specific activities slated today, but sources said his family, relatives and supporters will host an iftar (dinner for breaking fast) in the evening as thanksgiving for his safety from the marauding militants of combined Maute and Abu Sayyaf groups.
Gandamra and some supporters holed out inside his office building for more than a week starting on May 23, defending the city hall from invasion by the terror elements, according to media reports.
In his radio interview, Gandamra said the impending reconstruction works would bring about great improvements in the physical landscape in the 24-hectare main battle zone or ground zero in Marawi City.
But he assured that the works will pursue well-thought out designs respecting the cultural and religious sensitivities of the Maranao people.
Earlier, Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chair Eduardo del Rosario said full-scale reconstruction works would start shortly after all areas within ground zero were cleared of unexploded ordnances and improvised explosive devices.
Del Rosario, who heads the Task Force Bangon Marawi, also announced that all 67 evacuation centers in northern Mindanao and parts of Lanao del Sur will be cleared of occupants within this year, meaning all Maranao evacuees will be allowed to go home.