By Bonita Ermac
MARAWI CITY – Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong says there was no problem with the plans to convert the old city hall into a military camp provided its historical significance is preserved.
The site is the old municipal hall when this city was still Dansalan municipality. Adiong said the site symbolized the transfer from the old Maranaw Datu political system to a civilian administration.
“I think the significance nito is iyong pagsama ng mga maranaw to the mainstream Philippine Society during the commonwealth of then-president Manuel L. Quezon, this was constructed during his time”, he said.
He said if placing military camp in this site will ensure the safety of the people of Marawi, he will not oppose to it.
Having said “if that entails securing Marawi from the threat of terror, then there’s no problem with it”.
“I think it’s more of cultural sensitivity, taking care of the area not because you want to put a battalion command but more so to protect the people from the city”, he said.
Adiong added that even if the site becomes part of the military, preserving its historical significance should be respected, including the preservation of the structures and some other culturally significant areas of Marawi.
“I think we need to be more sensitive on that by protecting the culture”, he added.
Joint Task Force Ranao deputy commander Colonel Romeo Brawner, Jr., clarified that only a battalion headquarters will be quartered inside the structure.
“It will only be the location of a battalion headquarters. Dahil marami pang kumakalat na balita na malaking kampo and gagawin dito, pero hindi maliliit lang na kampo ito”, clarified Brawner.
He said the military only wanted the headquarters there because of the need to ensure the safety of developers, who will be dispatched to the war-torn city, as well as allow the soldiers easy access to the city once full-blown rehabilitation starts.
“Billions of pesos kasi ang papasok dito na pera para ma-rehabilitate, sayang naman kung mayroong papasok na mag-disrupt nitong rehabilitation effort natin,” said Brawner.
The camp will be built simultaneously with the rehabilitation of the main battle area, Brawner added.
The old Marawi city hall strategically located overlooking the Marawi’s most affected area and the lake.