Gov't confident it could meet 2021 deadline for Marawi rehab

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 11 2020 02:03 PM

Gov't confident it could meet 2021 deadline for Marawi rehab 1
This aerial photo shows the destroyed Grand Mosque in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao, May 23, 2019. Noel Celis, AFP/File

MANILA - The government can finish the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City by December 2021, the head of recovery efforts said Thursday.

Construction in Marawi City will be on "full blast" starting next month, Task Force Bangon Marawi head Eduardo del Rosario said. It has been three years since the 5-month firefights between terrorists and state forces left the Islamic city in shambles.

"We are very confident that the Marawi rehabilitation will be completed by December 2021," Del Rosario, who also heads the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development, said in a virtual press briefing.

Del Rosario said some P3.6 billion in funds needed for the rehabilitation of Marawi was released last month, prompting mobilization for construction efforts.

While the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down construction in the ruined city, Del Rosario said he received assurance from officials on the ground that the government can meet the December 2021 target.

"I was assured by all implementing agencies that we are on the right track still," he said.

Islamic State-linked Maute group stormed the southern city of Marawi on May 23, 2017, prompting the President to place the entire Mindanao under martial law.

Firefights between state troops and the Maute group dragged on for 5 months, killing more than 1,000 people, mostly terrorists, and reducing the city to rubble.

Even after the city was liberated on Oct. 17, 2017, military rule was extended thrice, which human rights groups and social activists questioned due to alleged abuses. Martial rule in Mindanao was lifted in the end of December 2019.