Gov't to preserve some Marawi ruins as tourist spots

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 10 2017 06:51 PM

Philippine Marines, backed by a V300 infantry fighting vehicle, cross Mapandi Bridge, a key area in the fighting in Marawi City. Froilan Gallardo, ABS-CBN News

The government is considering not to rehabilitate a small portion of war-torn Marawi City so that it may serve as a tourist destination in the future, Task Force Bangon Marawi chief Eduardo Del Rosario said Friday.

"We are considering to preserve 2 or 3 buildings as tourist spots. We will determine that (area) in tandem with the Department of Tourism kung ano 'yung very symbolic on the part of Marawi residents," Del Rosario who is also the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council Chairman said in a press briefing.

Del Rosario announced the plan days after he told ANC's Headstart that the government is set to put up a "modernized Marawi" with newer buildings and wider roads.

Aside from informing tourists about the deadly siege that left thousands - including terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute - killed, preserving the ruins will also remind Marawi to remain vigilant in the future.

"It will mean that never again will their place become like that," he said.

Del Rosario said the government also cannot rebuild the Islamic City's Grand Mosque due to the "separation of church and state."

There are many Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, who have expressed willingness to donate money to reconstruct mosques in Marawi, he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte recently approved an additional P14.5 billion for the rehabilitation of Lanao del Sur's commercial hub. However, government agencies may only use the money until December 31, before the 2017 budget expires.

Del Rosario said he instructed agencies to only request for "the right amounts they can use or obligate until the end of 2017" as untapped funds will be reverted to the National Treasury come January 1.

At least 33 barangays located in the city's "ground zero" were totally destroyed after the 5-month long battle for the control of the lakeside city.