Philippines to begin reconstruction work of mosques in war-torn Marawi

Philippines to begin reconstruction work of mosques in war-torn Marawi
Philippines to begin reconstruction work of mosques in war-torn Marawi

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - MANILA: The Philippine government is set to start the reconstruction in September of three mosques in Marawi City. The mosques were among other places of worship destroyed in 2017 when Daesh-inspired militants laid siege to the country’s only Islamic city.

“[Repair works] will start before the end of September. It will take four months to complete Masjid Darussalam, five months for Masjid Disomangcop and six months for the White Mosque,” Eduardo Del Rosario, Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD) secretary, said in a message to Arab News.

Del Rosario, who is also head of the task force overseeing the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi, said that the construction work on the three masjids — the White Mosque, Masjid Darussalam, and Masjid Disomangcop, which are all inside Marawi City’s most affected area (MAA) or ground zero — would take at least four to six months to complete.

The allotted budget for Masjid Darussalam is P4.39 million ($90,000); P12.25 million for Masjid Disomangcop; and P15.5 million for the White Mosque.

Del Rosario said the difference in cost and duration of repair is primarily due to the “size of the mosque and the complexity of the repairs to be undertaken.”

The White Mosque, located beside the future Grand Padian Market and Fish Port of Marawi, is frequented by Muslims who travel from the municipalities around Lanao Lake and visit Marawi City for trade and other purposes.

Masjid Disomangcop and Masjid Darussalam are located in the area where returning residents are currently rebuilding their homes.

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) to pave the way for the reconstruction of the three mosques through incentivized use of housing developers’ escrow funds was held at the DHSUD on Friday.

In a statement following the signing of the MOA, Del Rosario said that it is the first time that the department is releasing escrow funds amounting to P32.14 million.

“This is a milestone in the history of the Department and Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM). For the first time, we will use the escrow donation component for the building of the first three mosques inside the MAA,” he said, adding that President Rodrigo Duterte had stressed in a meeting in March that the reconstruction of mosques destroyed during the five-month Marawi siege be prioritized.

City Mayor Majul Gandamra, TFBM Field Office Manager Assistant Secretary Felix Castro Jr. and administrators of the three mosques took part in the MOA signing event from Marawi via a Zoom meeting.

Present at the DHSUD central office were officials from the Ayala-led BellaVita Land Corp. and Property Company of Friends Inc., or Pro-Friends, the contributors of the escrow funds that will be used for the project.

Gandamra and the administrators of the three mosques expressed gratitude to President Duterte and Del Rosario for their commitment to rebuild Marawi City.

Del Rosario, for his part, reiterated that the government, through the TFBM, is keen on rebuilding 31 masjids in Marawi, including the Dansalan Bato Ali Mosque and the Grand Mosque, with the help of donations from private organizations.

The mosques were destroyed during intense combat operations by the military to dislodge members of the Maute group who staged the siege.

According to Del Rosario, the TFBM considers the repair of these mosques as crucial to the “social healing of the Maranaos affected by the conflict.”

“These mosques are important monuments of Muslim history and Islamic tradition in the Philippines. The generosity and goodwill of our partner-developers will go a long way in boosting the morale and contributing to the overall well-being of the people of Marawi, which were destroyed along with these physical structures that represent and embody their faith,” Del Rosario said.

He added that they are now waiting for the finalization of the program design and terms of reference for the rehabilitation of the Dansalan Bato Ali Mosque and the Grand Mosque.

The Grand Mosque is the largest mosque in Marawi and Northern Mindanao and an icon of the Islamic faith in Marawi.

The Bato Mosque is the oldest in Marawi, built on a strategic location inside the MAA, with an elevated view of Lanao lake.

It was where the militants kept hostages during the siege. After being heavily damaged during the battle, the mosque had to be demolished. The TFBM said a new mosque will be built on the same site at an estimated cost of P105 million.

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