Marawi will be built back 'better': official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 10 2017 01:05 PM

MANILA - Marawi will be rebuilt "better" with a P20-billion budget, a disaster response official said Monday, as soldiers fought to retake the southern city from Islamic State-inspired extremists.

Some 500 people have been killed in 50 days of fighting that displaced thousands and left portions of the city in ruins.

"We will build back Marawi better. That is the assurance of the President and that is what the task force will do," civil defense assistant secretary Kristoffer James Purisima told ANC's Headstart.

Purisima said Task Force Bangon Marawi, formed late last month, would address five components: reconstruction, health and social welfare, housing, business and livelihood, and peace and order.

He said it was "too early to tell" how long the rehabilitation and reconstruction would take, but "we will rebuild it as fast as we can but we will rebuild it properly."

Fighting in Marawi, one of the commercial hubs in the south, erupted last May 23 after troops attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon. Hapilon was with the Maute Group, which recently pledged allegiance to Islamic State or ISIS jihadists.

The fighting prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.