US donates P730M for Marawi relief, rehab

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2017 05:40 PM

A bomb from a Philippine Air Force air asset explodes on impact at the main battle area in Marawi City on August 30, 2017. Val Cuenca, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- The United States has donated P730 million ($15 million) in humanitarian aid for relief and rehabilitation efforts in besieged Marawi City, where long-standing conflict between state forces and terrorists has plunged the once bustling urban center into a crisis.

US Ambassador Sung Kim on Tuesday said the donation would be made available to the Philippines through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

The US donation is among the largest foreign aid packages for the war-torn city, following Australia's announcement of a $20-million (P1 billion) aid, Japan's pledge of $2 million (P100 million), the European Union's P49-million support, and China's earlier provision of P20 million.

Of the total US donation, P153 million will be used to deliver basic relief supplies such as drinking water, hygiene kits, and shelter materials for evacuees, Kim said.

The remaining P577 million meanwhile will be used to help fund rehabilitation efforts in the conflict-stricken city.

"This money will focus on restoring basic public services, including health care, water, and electricity, jumpstarting livelihoods, and promoting community reconciliation and alternatives to violent extremism," he said in a press briefing.

Kim said an additional P22 million would also be provided by the US Embassy's Public Affairs Section for education and information programs for students and women in Marawi City.

The US envoy also reiterated Washington's commitment to support 
efforts to combat terrorism in the country.

The US, the Philippines' strongest defense ally, has made recent deliveries of critical military equipment to the Philippines, including the handover of 2 surveillance planes and counterterror weapons in July. 

"Counter-terrorism is a shared priority for both of our countries, and [is] important for regional stability," Kim said.

Since the Marawi crisis broke out on May 23, US troops have been providing technical assistance to the Armed Forces of the Philippines battling Islamic State-inspired extremists.

The war has left over 800 people dead, mostly terror suspects and has displaced more than 400,000 from the city and nearby towns.