Malacañang on Wednesday announced P730 million in assistance from the United States and P5 million from China for ongoing relief operations and eventual rehabilitation of besieged Marawi City, Lanao del Sur, in southern Mindanao.
“We welcome the assistance of the United States to finance emergency relief and recovery efforts for the areas affected by the Marawi rebellion,” Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
He acknowledged that the devastation wrought by the Islamic State-linked Maute terrorists was “extensive,” and that “the recovery and rebuilding of Marawi cannot be done overnight.”
“It is a multi-year rehabilitation effort, which requires the full support and cooperation of everyone to help the city rise as a prosperous city again, as promised by the President,” Abella said.
“We look forward to the end of the rebellion and eventually, the chance to bravely face the challenges and opportunities of reconstruction together with our friends and allies here and abroad,” he added.
On Tuesday, US Ambassador Sung Kim announced that the US will provide P730 million in humanitarian aid for relief and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City, which would be made available to the Philippines through the United States Agency for International Development.
Of the total US donation, Kim said P153 million will be used to deliver basic relief supplies such as drinking water, hygiene kits and shelter materials for evacuees.
The remaining P577 million, meanwhile, will be used to help fund rehabilitation efforts in the conflict-stricken city, he added.
Kim noted that the crisis in Marawi City is “the most urgent challenge” facing the Philippines.”
“And of course, all of this work is done in close coordination with our colleagues in the Philippine government. Our military cooperation remains an important component of our assistance,” he said.
Kim added that an additional P22 million would also be provided by the US Embassy’s Public Affairs Section for education and information programs for students and women in Marawi City.
In June, Washington vowed to provide more military assistance to the Philippines, with Manila announcing it would welcome any form of assistance from allied countries.
The American government gave two Cessna C-208B planes to the Philippine Air Force in July.
Kim said the US is “deeply committed” to its partnership and would readily support its allies facing challenges.
He added that fighting terrorism should be a shared responsibility between the Philippines and the US.
“We will continue to look for additional military and non-military ways to support the Philippines’ counter-terrorism efforts, and I expect to announce more measures and initiatives in the near future,” Kim said.
The US donation is among the largest foreign aid packages for the war-torn city, with Australia giving $20 million (P1 billion); Japan, $2 million (P100 million); European Union, P49 million; and China, P20 million.
Col. Edgard Arevalo, public affairs chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), also on Wednesday said the additional P5 million in check given by China, through Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua, will now be part of earlier donations for government troops killed and wounded in Marawi City.
Zhao on Tuesday went to the AFP general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City to personally hand over the check to AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Eduardo Año.
In a news conference also on Wednesday, he said Beijing has vowed to donate P15 million to Manila that will be distributed to soldiers fighting Maute extremists in Marawi.
Aside from cash donations, the Chinese government has also promised 3,000 rifles, including sniper rifles.
According to Zhao, the 3,000 rifles will be arriving by the end of September.
Last week, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said rocket-propelled grenades from China are expected to arrive in the Philippines and fast boats that will be used in securing the Sulu Sea will be in Manila before the year ends.
In June, the Chinese government gave the Philippines 3,000 guns and six million pieces of ammunition amounting to P370 million.