MANILA - The rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City was left out of President Rodrigo Duterte's penultimate State of the Nation Address because it is already an ongoing project of the government, Malacañang said Thursday after a lawmaker called out the chief executive's silence over the matter.
Basilan Rep. Mujiv Hataman expressed dismay over the lack of mention of the Marawi rehabilitation during the President's fifth SONA, saying Duterte, the first chief executive from Mindanao, should have set a deadline for the reconstruction.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured Hataman that the government continues to rehabilitate the war-torn city.
"Tuloy-tuloy po ang rebuilding of Marawi kaya nga po siguro hindi na sinama sa talumpati ng Presidente dahil nagsimula na po 'yan at ongoing po 'yan," Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
(The rehabilitation of Marawi is already ongoing which is why it was left out of the President's speech.)
Roque said he might visit and hold briefings in Marawi City soon to show the public the state of rehabilitation efforts.
"Hindi po tumigil ang gobyerno para mapabangon muli ang Marawi dahil nga po sa nangyari ilang taon na ang nakalilipas," he added.
(The government did not stop in rehabilitating Marawi after what happened years ago.)
On May 23, 2017, Islamic State-linked Maute group stormed the southern city of Marawi, prompting President Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial law. The siege lasted for 5 months, still the worst conflict the Duterte administration has faced.
The siege displaced around 40,000 families, government data showed, and reduced the once bustling city into 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.