BUILDING a military camp inside the main battle area of Marawi City will be a “deterrent” to another war between government security forces and the Islamic State-inspired Maute group in Marawi City, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said on Wednesday.
Col. Romeo Brawner Jr., deputy commander of Joint Task Group Ranao, made the statement, as he also emphasized that Marawi City may be a target again by lawless elements.
“This camp will serve as a deterrent so we can avoid terroristic activities like what happened in the Marawi siege. It might be a target again in the future once it is developed into a modern Islamic City,” Brawner said in a radio interview.
“That is why we need to secure the investment of our government and other countries as well because really, a lot of organizations and other countries are pouring in investments and aid for Marawi City,” he added.
On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte led the groundbreaking ceremony of the newly-built military camp in Marawi City.
He was joined by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, AFP chief Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., commander of the AFP’s Western Mindanao Command (WestMinCom); and Lt. Gen. Rolando Bautista, commanding general of the Philippine Army.
Brawner said the camp would not be built in the center of Marawi City’s business district but on the side of the main battle area and on top of a hill overlooking the district up to the lake.
The 10-hectare area is also owned by the government, he added.
“This was the former city hall, it has been abandoned that is why there are not structures surrounding it. Not even houses and business structures around it. It is an isolated area,” he said.
He said the military camp would serve as headquarters for an Army battalion.
The war erupted on May 23, 2017 after the military failed to serve an arrest warrant against Islamist leader Isnilon Hapilon, prompting Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao. DEMPSEY REYES