MARAWI CITY, Lanao del Sur (PIA)–After more than four years of immersing itself in the locality to carry out its mission for the internally displaced persons (IDPs) here, the international non-government organization United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) Philippines has concluded the implementation of its project labeled as “Rebuilding Marawi through Community-driven Shelter and Livelihood.”
Upon bidding goodbye to its beneficiaries and some stakeholders, it held a kandori or a thanksgiving meal and sealing of partnership with government and private partners and federated homeowners associations Thursday, July 28.
At the event, UN-Habitat Philippines Country Program Manager Christopher Rollo appeared emotional and sentimental as he reminisced their years of stay in the city and in their office which was based in Iligan City, highlighting that the project and their partners in Marawi City have been part of the life of UN-Habitat.
He stated that saying goodbye to their office in Iligan City was a symbol of the completion of their project.
“We have spent four years of our lives here in Marawi and Marawi will always be with us kaya [that is why], I think, this explains why this time is very important because it is also an opportunity for us to say thank you to our partners. Ito iyong naging bahay namin [This has become our home],” said Rollo.
The country program manager shared that their effort in Marawi was the longest and biggest project of the organization in the Philippines and that this could not have succeeded without the support and help of their partners, and employing the principle of people’s process wherein families themselves built their own houses and businesses.
Rollo conveyed that although it was somehow sad for them to depart from their office and the city that became their home for more than four years, they still found happiness seeing that they were leaving 1,000 houses constructed for the intended beneficiaries.
He added that it was also through this project that friendships and partnerships have been formed with a lot of people and organizations, including some line agencies and residents, among others.
“We are happy na kahit hindi kami nakatira doon sa 1,000 houses na naipatayo, kasama kami doon [that although we do not live in those constructed 1,000 houses, we were with those] and our hearts are with all of you in your homes,” said Rollo.
Rollo hoped that as they completed their project in the city, his organization and the partners learned together from their experiences which included acquiring more capacities, and having the opportunity to know how to build homes and communities, strengthen the communities through the homeowners association, develop businesses with cooperatives, and boost the partnership with suppliers.
He also looked forward to the time that when they will come back to the city years from now, they would still be welcomed, and see an even more progressive, peaceful and dynamic city.
UN-Habitat Philippines Project Manager Warren Ubongen further thanked those that became their partners as they carry out their task in the city here.
He emphasized that their stakeholders have not only aided them but also Marawi residents.
“Kami ay instrumento lamang para tumulong at hindi namin magagawa iyon kung hindi sa tulong niyo lahat. Marami tayong nainspire,” said Ubongen.
[We are only instruments to help and we could not have made it if it were not for the help from you all. We have inspired a lot.] (CRG/PIA-10/Lanao del Sur)