Marawi will rise as a modern city – housing czar

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 27) — Underground power lines, widened roads, and a central sewage treatment facility.

These will soon be constructed in war-torn Marawi, said Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) chief Eduardo del Rosario.

"We will make sure that the central business district or the ground zero will be a modern city after the rehabilitation," the country's housing czar and Task Force Bangon Marawi chairperson said in a press briefing in Marawi on Wednesday.

"'Yung kanilang power lines, instead na nakalabas, sa ilalim na. At magkakaroon ng central drainage system na iko-collect lahat ng waste sa lahat ng establishment para magkaroon ng sewage treatment facility, pagpunta dito sa Lanao Lake malinis na 'yung tubig," he added.

[Translation: "Their power lines will be underground instead of exposed. There will be a central drainage system that will collect the waste from all establishments and will be treated so water going to Lanao Lake will be clean."]

The five-month war between government forces and ISIS-inspired terrorists has turned homes and buildings into rubble inside the main battle area of Marawi.

Unsolicited proposals for rebuilding Marawi were as low as P38 billion and as high as P86 billion, del Rosario said. In November, Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said they would need P90 billion to rebuild and improve the city.

Six developers, which the government has yet to name, submitted pitches for the rehabilitation of Marawi.

They will be subjected to a Swiss Challenge, which allows companies to compete with each other's unsolicited bids.

"We can be assured that the government will get the best developer for this project," del Rosario said.

Proposals will be studied by a technical working group composed of representatives from the Departments of Finance, Budget and Management, Public Works and Highways, National Economic and Development Authority, Bases Conversion and Development Authority, and HUDCC.

The construction will likely to start April or May 2018, del Rosario said.

A park is also being eyed around the Agos River, earlier used by some residents to escape the fighting in Marawi. 

"We will convert it into a park where people can stroll the whole stretch of the Agos River for about 2 kilometers," del Rosario said.

A sports complex with dormitories for athletes, a P200-million grand central market, and bypass roads will also be built in the city. Del Rosario, however, did not disclose who will fund these.

Del Rosario added all buildings in Marawi are considered debris that need to be removed.

The government targets to distribute 1,170 temporary housing units to displaced Marawi residents by February 2018. More than 90,000 residents have come home as of Wednesday, the mayor said.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines said troops have been deployed in Marawi to secure rehabilitation efforts.

Martial law will remain in effect in Mindanao until December 31, 2018, after Congress granted President Rodrigo Duterte's request for a one-year extension to stamp out terrorism.