MANILA - The Australian government is giving an additional A$3.5 million or P140 million in aid to residents of conflict-stricken Marawi City, who have been living in temporary shelters since a 5-month terrorist siege in 2017 displaced thousands of families.
In a statement, the Australian Embassy in Manila said 6,500 displaced families living in Marawi, nearby Iligan City, municipalities in Lanao del Sur, and the municipality of Munai in Lanao del Norte will benefit from the donation.
The aid will be used to support affected families through counseling, securing birth certificates and other identification documents, and providing sources of livelihood such as tricycles, sewing machines and refrigerators to start small businesses.
The assistance brings up Australia's total donations to A$30 million or P1.2 billion in support of "humanitarian, recovery and peacebuilding initiatives" following the siege.
"We will continue to support the Philippine government and the people of Marawi as they work to rebuild their lives and their city," Australian ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said.
The embassy said Australia "has been a strong supporter of development, peace, and stability in the southern Philippines for over 20 years" and that it would continue to work with the Philippine government to combat terrorism in the region.
The siege of Marawi, perpetrated by Islamic State-linked terrorists from May to October 2017, left 1,100 people dead, mostly terrorists.
The firefights left much of the once bustling urban and cultural center in ruins. Government's rehabilitation efforts are ongoing.