Philippines kick off $96.5 million Marawi rehab

 28 Oct 2017 - 12:31

Philippines kick off $96.5 million Marawi rehab

By Hader Glang| AA

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines: The military has kicked off the full-blown rehabilitation, reconstruction and rebuilding efforts of conflict-torn Marawi city, officials announced on Friday.

The government has earmarked an initial P5 billion (around $96.5 million) for the early recovery phase, Maj. Gen, Restituto Padilla, the Armed Forces spokesman said."We are now entering into...our long road to normalcy of the city," he told reporters in Manila.

Clearing the city of remaining unexploded ordnance, improvised explosive devices, and booby traps, post-conflict assessment, clean-up, including location and collection of bodies, are being undertaken, he said.

Basic facilities and services, like water and power, are also in the process of being restored, as a few thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) whose houses were destroyed have started returning home to be moved in transitional shelters.

Since the war broke out on May 23, following the siege of the Daesh-linked Maute and Abu Sayyaf militants, more than 400,000 residents and business proprietors have fled Marawi.

Exactly five months later, government forces successfully retook the predominantly Muslim city, leaving 962 militants, 165 state troops, and 47 civilians dead.

The local government unit of Marawi described the present status of the city as totally devastated, especially in the commercial district where the main battle between troops and terrorists was fought.It said of the P5 billion amount, an estimated P3.4 billion will be spent on health and social services to IDPs and that the government will disperse another P10 billion in 2018 and P5 billion in 2019.Earlier, Australia, Japan, the United States, European Union, as well as international agencies like the World Bank, Asian Development and the United Nations Development Program had pledged to extend help.

Aside from these pledges, the government received foreign donations from the governments of Canada, China, Germany, Korea, India, Thailand, and Singapore.

Accordingly, financial assistance was also provided by the Asean Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Disaster Management and the US Agency for International Development, for the early recovery phase.However, the initial estimate of P50 billion Philippine pesos as the required amount to rebuild Marawi may not be enough, considering the extent of the destruction, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said.Citing government records, Lorenzana said thousands of buildings were destroyed with entire districts turned into piles of concrete rubble thus, rebuilding the basic infrastructure of Marawi alone will cost more than a billion US dollars.