MANILA - Displaced residents of more barangays in strife-torn Marawi City may be able to return to their homes by next week if the military's plan is followed, a spokesperson said Thursday.
Authorities have declared about 20 barangays safe, but half of this number did not have to evacuate, according to data presented by Colonel Romeo Brawner, deputy commander of Task Group Ranao.
Clean-up is ongoing in the 9 barangays grouped into Cluster 4 and residents may be able to return home by October 26, said Brawner.
"Itong schedule na ito ay tentative because it will depend on the cooperation of the barangay officials...Hindi dahil sinabi nating 26, makakabalik na; hindi definite yun," he told reporters at Marawi.
Brawner said they have required barangay officials to provide returning residents with IDs, which will be counter checked with a list.
"Sila po ang magsasabi na yung bumabalik na residente ay talagang (residente). Sila ang magse-certify na talagang itong mga ito ay residente ng barangay nila. This is to make sure na hindi tayo masingitan ng tao na hindi talaga taga-Marawi," he said.
"This will also ensure that we will be able to capture anybody who will be trying to come back and they are listed as wanted in the arrest order," he added.
Some 400,000 residents left the predominantly Muslim city when clashes between government forces and Islamic State-inspired extremists erupted in May 23.
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte declared the liberation of Marawi City after state troopers killed terror leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute.