Lorenzana: “We’ll bring in whole government here” to speed up Marawi’s rehabilitation

MARAWI CITY (MindaNews / 08 June) — The war is not over but Defense  Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon were talking about rehabilitating Marawi on Thursday, Day 17 of the clashes with the terrorist Maute Group here.

“We are preparing the rehabilitation program for Marawi once we clear the last pocket of resistance,” Lorenzana told the troops and the media at Campo Ranao.

No, this is not Aleppo
This is Marawi City, Sunday morning, 04 June 2017. A member of the Joint Coordinating, Monitoring, and Assistance Center of the GPH-MILF Peace Corridor assists an elderly woman leave the conflict zone, one of 134 trapped civilians rescued Sunday morning during a four-hour “humanitarian pause.” Photo courtesy of BANGSAMORO NEWS

“We would like Marawi to go back to normal,” he said.

“Papasok na construction dito, construction brigades, Amry, DPWH (Department of Public Work and Highways (DPWH),  We’ll bring in whole government here to rehabilitate, reconstruct, recover Marawi City para mas mabilis (to make it faster)”

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon noted that there is a “small resistance point right now” from the Maute Group “and malapit nang matapos yan” (and that is almost over).

Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez, Western Mindanao Command chief said he is “looking at the possibility that the end will be near.”

Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista, chief of the Army’s 1st Infantry Division, said their timetable is “within four days we will gain headway” or by  June 12 which happens to be Philippine Independence Day.

Bautista said that based on their assessment as of morning of June 8, there are still “more or less 230 local terrorists in the area” and about 100 hostages.

Efforts are still being undertaken to get trapped civilians out of the conflict zone.  Estimates as to the number vary, between 1,000 to 2,000. Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza announced 38 trapped civilians were rescued Thursday.

As of 6 a.m. on June 7, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) reported a total of 222,108 persons (46,410 families) have been displaced by the armed conflict in Marawi.

Esperon said he looks forward to “rehabilitating Marawi and the environs,” adding that Marawi is “really a beautiful Islamic City and whether or not it is Islamic, it is a beautiful Filipino city we should all be proud of.”

“Bibigyan uli natin ng buhay ang Marawi City dahil ito ay atin” (Let us breathe life into Marawi City again because this is ours),” he said.

Assemblyman Zia Alonto Adiong, spokesperson of the Provincial Crisis Management Committee told MindaNews that the provincial government is “taking the followings steps: conduct damage and needs assessment, early recovery plan, and rehabilitation plan.”

Adiong had earlier said this is “the first time Marawi City has experienced a crisis this huge. The damage is unparalleled. The human cost is staggering.”

The conflict zone is the city’s business district and the first set of photographs and video that came out Sunday after the rescue of 134 trapped civilians by the Government and Moro Islamic Liberation Front’s (GPH-MILF) “Peace Corridor” showed just how badly damaged the area is.

No announcement has been made on who is in charge of the rehabilitation of devastated Marawi.

MindaNews asked  Lorenzana, Esperon and Dureza who is in charge but Lorenzana and Esperon had not replied  as of posting time.

Dureza said the Department of National Defense (DND) is in charge of the rehabilitation process for  Marawi.

He said the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process “will handle providing ‘peace lens’ and rebuilding of relationships disrupted by the conflict… promote social cohesion, repairing torn social fabric due to violence.” (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)