US aid to Marawi reaches P3.2-B

MANILA The United States government has already pledged a total of PHP3.2 billion to the rebuilding of Marawi City as of October 2018, making it one of the largest foreign aid donors to the city's recovery efforts a year after the bloody siege ended.

In a fact sheet released by the US Embassy Wednesday, its Marawi Response Project, amounting to PHP1.35 billion, will offer micro grants to displaced and host communities to help address their short-term needs, support employment readiness among youth, and help link youth to Mindanao's thriving services sector and supply chains.

During and after the conflict between government forces and Islamic State-inspired terror groups in 2017, USAID has provided humanitarian and early recovery assistance to Marawi returnees, as well as displaced and host communities.

Among these are the ongoing improvement of water, sanitation, and hygiene activities in Lanao del Sur, amounting to PHP338 million; the PHP100 million-worth project to deliver 1.8 million kilograms of rice to families displaced by the conflict; the restoration of access to markets and provision of essential maternal, newborn, and child health training and supplies for affected populations worth PHP431.6 million; and their PHP480 million allocation to work with vulnerable populations, including youth, to enhance their job skills and attain livelihoods.

In education, the US government has employed the "Empowering Madrasa Educator" program, as part of its PHP70 million rosters of education, economic development, youth empowerment, and countering violent extremism outreach programs in response to the Marawi crisis.

Days before the commemoration of the Marawi siege's conclusion, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim also launched the Empowering Madrasa Educator 2 worth PHP12.7 million which provides intensive long-term training to 175 madrasa educators and 25 madrasa administrators from Marawi, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato City, Maguindanao, Isabela City, and Basilan.

Through the program, madrasa educators will improve their English proficiency and computer literacy.

At present, the US continues to help the Armed Forces of the Philippines in quelling militants, including support that increases intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance capabilities at the request of the Philippine government.

"US forces have been providing support and assistance in the Philippines for many years, at the request of several different Filipino administrations," the US Embassy said.

On Oct. 17, 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City liberated from terrorist influence. On October 23, the government officially announced the battle's end.

The five-month conflict in the city killed a total of 168 government troops, and left over 900 militants dead, including their leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency