Gov’t set to start early recovery stage of Marawi rehab

MANILA-- The government is ready to start the early stage of rehabilitation of Marawi City primarily focusing on restoration of basic services such as electricity, water, sanitation, health and education, a military spokesman said on Monday.??

Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said the Inter-Agency Task Force Bangon Marawi is set to meet this week "to lay the groundwork for the planning and the scheduling of all the work" needed for the early recovery stage.??

"The early recovery stage is going to occur even while hostilities are ongoing. And this early recovery stage will pave the way for the preparation of the ground for the temporary resettlement area while Bangon Marawi is capacitating itself and organizing itself to embark on the full recovery at the end of hostilities," Padilla said as he gave updates on the situation in war-torn Marawi during the regular Mindanao Hour Press Briefing in MalacaAan.

He said the government will proceed with its initial plan to set up tents as temporary shelters for the displaced residents.??

But he said the Task Force is also looking at the creation of a "single detached cottage" for those locals who have lost their houses in the fighting between government troops and Maute terror group.??

"So, hoping to make that as a six-months to one-year transition dwelling for many of the residents until such time that the areas that they used to live will have been reconstructed and rehabilitated," said Padilla.??

"Primary attention and focus for the rehabilitation, of course, will go to the basic services, initially. And what are these? The restoration of power, the restoration of water, the provision of safe drinking water and sanitation, and restoration of health services, and also educational services," he added.

Padilla said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is finalizing the preparation for deployment of "well-experienced" engineers from AFP Engineering Units to help in the rehabilitation process particularly in restoration of public infrastructures such as school buildings, mosques, multi-purpose centers, farm-to-market roads and health centers, among others.??

He added that Department of Education is also working with other contractors for the shipment of materials needed for the reconstruction and repair of the schools in Marawi City.

Padilla, meanwhile, defended soldiers involved in clearing operations in Marawi who were accused of taking properties and valuable items like appliances, cash and jewelry.?

He said items recovered by soldiers were turned over to their owners and houses and establishments that they could not safeguard were ordered to be padlocked.?

He noted that the morale of the soldiers remains high due to continuing public support that they have been receiving.??

"And as a result of that, our troops are continuously forward-looking, hoping and looking forward to resolve this issue or this incident in Marawi at the soonest time possible, Padilla said.??

During the same press briefing, Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag revealed that the number of terrorists killed in Marawi rose to 379 from 353.??

Recovered high-powered firearms also grew, now at 451 or an additional of 25 firearms.??

Government casualties have reached 89 while civilians killed have remained at 39 and civilians rescued at 1,723.

As to donations for Marawi victims, as of 10 a.m. Monday, donations for soldiers killed in action have soared to PHP3,223,490.98 while donations for internally displaced persons have reached PHP765,727.21.??

Philippine Airlines Foundation also donated a PHP2 million check last Friday.

Source: Philippines News Agency