All roads lead to a better Marawi



Anna Mae Lamentillo

Four years ago, the siege in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, left a trail of death and destruction. What was once a lively and culturally vibrant city was turned into complete ruins after five months of battle. There was massive displacement of communities and loss of livelihoods and income.

When the city was finally liberated from terrorist influence, the government did not waste time in coming up with a plan to build back a better Marawi City.

The first time we went there, I was with Secretary Mark Villar. We met a soldier who had shrapnels in his back. He told us that a number of them would have to keep the fragments of the bombs in their bodies so long as they live. Pro-ISIS militants left roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) everywhere — from doors to windows.

The clearing operations were not easy. IEDs were concealed in houses and roadsides. It was carried and delivered in cars or packages. Sometimes, it was surrounded by enhancements — nails, glass, or metal fragments — designed to increase the amount of shrapnel propelled by the explosion.

SECRETARY VILLAR led the inspection of ground zero which would lay out the master plan for Marawi Transcentral Roads.

We knew the challenges our soldiers faced were life threatening. We saw it first hand — an explosion in a building few meters from where our chopper was. Suddenly, the explosion blew out windows and a fire consumed the building.

The armed confrontation in Marawi has displaced majority of the total population of the city — as well as residents from nearby municipalities who were compelled to leave due to severe food shortage. Farmers, fishermen had no access to roads for several months. There were no classes in school and businesses were closed.

As part of the Task Force, Sec Mark led a team that will provide a road network infrastructure that will pave the way for a revitalized economy of Marawi. The rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Marawi Transcentral Roads will improve the flow of traffic, provide people with better access to goods and services, and open opportunities for livelihood and development. More importantly, it will connect communities and unite peoples, thus, sustaining our peace building efforts.

SECRETARY VILLAR and author inspect progress of rehabilitation efforts in Marawi.

For this, DPWH has already undertaken two projects: The (1) programme for the support to rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City and surrounding areas, and the (2) Marawi Transcentral Road phase III under road network development project in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao.

The first program, financed by a two billion Japanese yen or approximately P970 million donation/grant to the Philippine government from the government of Japan thru the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), covers the improvement of 18.97-kilometer Marawi Transcentral Roads.

SECRETARY VILLAR meets with DPWH personnel and LGU officials involved in the construction of the Transcentral Roads

It consists of three contract packages: Contract Package 1-B (5.45-kilometer), which covers sections of Bacong-Poona-Marantao-Marawi Road, GMA Terminal Access Road, Marawi-Cadre-New Capitol Road, Marcos Boulevard (Road 19), and Idarus Road (Road 27); and Contract Package 2 (4.11-kilometers), which covers sections of MSU-GMA Road (Road 8) and Lumindong-Amaipakpak Avenue (Road 21), have already been completed last March 15 and February 6, respectively. Contract Package 1-A (9.41-kilometer), which covers two sections of Bacong-Iligan-Marawi Road, is set to be completed by September 16, 2021.

Meanwhile, the reconstruction and rehabilitation of another 18.78-kilometer road is currently ongoing under the Road Network Development Project in Conflict-Affected Areas in Mindanao. The project amounting to P723.26 million is funded by JICA under the official development assistance (ODA) loan financing.

GROUND ZERO – a few days after Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute were killed.

It consists of four packages: Package 3-A (4.87-kilometer) covers sections of Sagonsongan-Cabibgab Road (Road 6), 4th Street Road (Road 7), and 1st Street-Mayor Natangcop Indol St. Road; Package 3-B (4.92-kilometer) covers three sections of Saguiaran Road (Roads 9-1, 13, and 14); Package 3-C (4.34-kilometer) covers another two sections of Saguiaran Road (Roads 9-2 and 15) and two sections of Marawi City Road (Roads 25 and 26); and Package 3-D (4.65-kilometer) covers sections of Bangon-Poona-Marantao Road, Bito-Rorogarus Road (Road 11), and Tampilon Road.

Roadworks for these four packages started on the second quarter of 2021 and are expected to be completed by May 2022, well within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.