Displaced residents here celebrated and delivered their gratefulness as they were handed over new homes where their families can already dwell for good.
This, as a total of 1,000 permanent housing units were completely constructed by the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) under the Rebuilding Marawi through Community-driven Shelter and Livelihood Project funded by the Japan government, and the land development made possible by the National Housing Authority (NHA) and the Social Housing Finance Corporation (SHFC).
Internally displaced person (IDP) Ashari Macaraya Bani who received a unit in the UN-Habitat’s share at Pamayandeg sa Ranao Residences at Dansalan (PRRD) at Brgy. Kilala shared that during the dawning of the firefight in the city, he and his family evacuated and failed to anticipate the end of the conflict as they initially expected that after the shortest time, they would be able to return to their home.
He stated that little did they know that the siege would last for five months and they were in agony as they were put in the situation of being uncomfortable staying in a place that was far from what they call home.
Bani cited that during their suffering, they were favored enough to have the UN-Habitat which did not only provide them well-built shelter but also assistance for their sustenance.
“Satisfied kami kasi ang UN-Habitat ay nagbigay naman sa amin ng livelihood kapalit ng mga nasirang kabuhayan sa Marawi. Nagagalak kami kasi iyong mga nasirang bahay namin sa Marawi ay napalitan naman ng kaaya-aya naman… Kahit mumunti siya pero malaking kayamanan na rin sa amin ito kasi malaki napalitan ang mga nasirang tahanan namin,” he said.
[We are satisfied because the UN-Habitat gave us livelihood to replace our destroyed livelihood in Marawi. We are happy because our destructed house in Marawi was replaced with one that is nice… Although it is quite small, it is already a wealth to us because it replaced our destroyed house.]
Another IDP Palawan Macaayan who now lives in the same community recalled that alongside their urgent leave from their old house at ground zero was the devastation of their properties.
He said they had nothing when they moved out but with the helping hand of the government and non-government organizations such as the UN-Habitat, their struggles were at least eased.
“Maraming naiwan namin na kagamitan. Sabi ko, sige nalang. Ang importante makalaya tayo dito… Satisfied na kami [ngayon] dahil may lugar na matutulugan nang mabuti. Satisfied na satisfied kami,” he said.
[We left a lot of things. I said, that is just okay. What is important is that we would be free from this… [Now,] we are already satisfied because we already have a place where we can sleep well. We are very satisfied.]
Oling Manalo, on the other hand, an IDP residing currently at one of the UN-Habitat’s founded communities called Norsalam Village, conveyed her deepest gratitude to the people of Japan for their generosity, and for giving them the means to start anew and rebuild their lives and dignity.
She stressed that it was not just houses that the UN-Habitat built but the organization likewise aided them to regain our confidence even as they became known as IDPs.
Manalo assured the donors that while they enjoy the bestowed blessings, they will nurture it properly in consideration of the great effort extended to them.
“To everyone who contributed to our rebuilding journey, Alhamdullilah, maraming salamat. We are fortunate to have people like you who did not hesitate to help us… In return, Inshaallah, we will take good care of this immeasurable gift and we will continue to maintain what the Rebuilding Marawi Project had started. We will work together in promoting peacebuilding, safeguarding the environment, managing our new communities, finding sufficient income for our families, and supporting one another to heal the scars in our hearts,” she said.
With the successful implementation of the housing project of the UN-Habitat, residents who once resided within the six-meter easement along Lake Lanao and Agus River in the city benefited.