• Govt sets aside P10B for Marawi City rehab

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    THE government is readying up to P10 billion in funding for the rebuilding of Marawi City, which has been devastated by clashes between state forces and the Islamic State-linked Maute group, Malacañang said on Saturday.

    In a radio interview, Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said the Department of National Defense (DND) would lead the “Bangon Marawi” recovery effort.

    SYMPATHY FOR MARAWI A t-shirt maker in Recto Street, Manila arranges shirts bearing the words “Save Marawi City.” PHOTO BY RUSSELL PALMA

    “The EO (executive order) for ‘Bangon Marawi’ is awaiting PRRD’s (President Rodrigo Roa Duterte’s) signature,” Abella told government-run dzRB radio.

    “The proposed package amounting to P10 billion as surmised by the President will be a multi-agency effort,” he added, without elaborating the source of funding for the program.

    Abella said that among the agencies that would join the rebuilding efforts were the departments of trade, education, social welfare, public works, energy and information and communications technology.

    “We assure the people that their government will do everything to ensure normalcy and to deliver services to support the people’s aspirations for a comfortable life,” he added.

    The Palace official said the Engineering Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, with the supervision of an undersecretary, would lead the restoration program “with the expressed purpose of bringing back residents and normal everyday life as soon as possible.”

    “It should take a minimum of six months and may begin after clearing the city, which should take about at least one to two weeks,” Abella said.

    On May 23, the Maute group attacked several establishments in Marawi to seize the city and establish it as the seat of an Islamic province.

    The siege prompted the President to declare martial law and suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao.

    According to government reports, the ongoing clashes have claimed the lives of 138 Islamist gunmen, as of Friday night.

    The military is expecting to end the rebellion in Marawi on Independence Day, June 12, stressing that only three villages were being occupied by the local terror group.

    The Palace official said the military was expecting to clear the conflict-torn city “in the next few days.”

    “Our forces will continue to carry out military operations to ensure that we save lives through expeditious military action. Their primary concern is to save people’s lives,” Abella said.

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