Blast wall built inside Marawi

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ILIGAN CITY — The National Housing Authority (NHA) has built a blast wall in the most affected area (MAA) of Marawi City.

This is an additional precautionary and safety net for the residents who will be coming back anytime now while continue looking for the remaining unexploded ordnances (UXOs).

NHA’s head of Marawi Project Management Office, Engr. Roderick Ybaṅez, said the blast wall is deployed in portions of sector 7, particularly along Mapandi area; sector 5, along Quezon Avenue in sector 4 and in between sector 4 and 6 that composed of Barangays Wawalayan Marinaut, Marinaut West and Tuca Marinaut.

Built in three meters high and one meter thick, the blast wall is made of thick fiber with a steel mesh compressed by a debris filling that can withstand shock wave.

“It will be an additional precautionary and safety net for the residents who will be coming back in sectors 1 to 3 while we are still looking for the remaining UXOs in sectors 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9,” Ybaṅez said.

In a press briefing Wednesday morning, August 14, Housing Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario, Task Force Bangon Marawi Chairman, announced that sectors 1, 2 and 3 areas are now ready to be reoccupied and residents can start rebuilding or repairing their structures provided they will comply requirements such as building permit from the local government unit.

TFBM Field Office Manager and Housing Assistant Secretary Felix Castro, Jr., said that residents must also apply for electrical connection clearance from Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (LASURECO) and water connection clearance from Marawi Water District.

As of August 14, no resident has started yet constructing their house as they are still complying their application from the city’s Office of the Building Official (OBO).

Bomb clearing to continue

While residents are complying and preparing for their return, a group of soldiers who are expert in explosive ordnance called Joint Task Group Builder (JTGB) continue to scour the area to look for the remaining UXOs that the Philippine Air Force (PAF) planes has dropped against enemies during the five-month war in Marawi City in 2017.

Col. Ireneo Sebastian, commander of JTGB, said they are still looking for 46 UXOs based on the coordinates given by the PAF.

On August 3 was the last detonation and disposal of UXOs, retrieved from the 250-hectare land area that composed of a 260 and 110 pound general purpose bombs and other surface bombs.

These bombs were retrieved in the ongoing demolition and clearing operations of the EDDMARI Construction and Trading, a private company that won the contract of managing the debris inside the MAA.

It was detonated inside a nine-meter deep hole in Barangay Moncado Colony where the 260-lbs was recovered.

Sebastian said they have learned from the June 26 blasting of UXOs that drew criticisms from Marawi residents because it sent a loud sound and shockwaves around the detonation area.

“We can control the loud sound by putting together the UXOs in a hole and covered it with soil. The sound was very minimal that residents nearby could hardly hear it,” Sebastian said.

The detection, using the bomb sniffing dogs and the ground penetrating radar (GPR), is ongoing in sectors 5, 8 and 9.

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