MANILA — President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday challenged the task force leading the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City to "race against time" and accelerate its efforts to "bring the families back home."
"To Task Force Bangon Marawi, we need to race against time and you have to finish the necessary work to rehabilitate the war-torn city and bring its families back home," Duterte said during his final State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Duterte admitted that "rebuilding a better Marawi remains today still not completed" 4 years after the fierce 5-month battle that left the southern city in ruins.
Task Force Bangon Marawi in May said public infrastructure projects in Marawi are about 65 percent complete. The task force said it was given until the end of the year to complete the rehabilitation program.
Civic leader Samira Gutoc has called the government's effort to rebuild Marawi City a "failure."
The 2017 Marawi crisis led by members of Islamic State-inspired Maute group began in May and dragged on until October, displacing residents and destroying the city.
According to Duterte, one of his achievements was the passage of the Bangsamoro Organic Law that addressed the root cause of the "separatist movement."
"I have said many times before, the bloodshed caused by the separatist movement in Mindanao it is all about correcting historical injustice suffered by the Moro people. With the help of Congress, we were able to pass the organic law for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao finally fulfilling the promise that was decades in the making," Duterte said during his SONA.
According to Duterte, "a victory in Marawi is also a testament to how Filipinos' patriotism if far stronger that any extremist group."