MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo said Sunday equitable and inclusive progress must be achieved for the people of Marawi three years after its liberation from Islamic State-inspired terrorists.
Robredo, in her message, honored Filipino soldiers and the innocent lives lost in the 5-month long war in 2017.
The Vice President also noted that thousands remain displaced, with the city "yet to reclaim any semblance of normalcy, much less its former glory as a cultural and economic hub."
"The siege may have been lifted, but the Marawi of today reminds us: violent extremism remains among the biggest threats to society. And to truly address it, frustrations must be met with compassion. Empowerment must become the foremost imperative," she said.
"Equitable and inclusive progress must be achieved for the people of Marawi," she stressed.
"Liberation entails much more than silencing the gunfire. Today we remember the Marawi we lost, even as we renew the call for a more urgent approach to the rehabilitation process, and recommit to the rebuilding of a more peaceful and prosperous city. Insha Allah, makakabangon tayong muli (we will rise again)."
The government earlier said Marawi rehabilitation projects remain "on track" and were set to be completed by December 2021.
Thousands of houses were destroyed when government forces retook Marawi from the IS-inspired Maute Group from May 2017, displacing more than 350,000 people.
The war left nearly a thousand militants dead, including Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, who was regarded as the emir of the IS in Southeast Asia, as well as Maute Group leaders Omar and Abdullah Maute. More than 160 soldiers and policemen, and 47 civilians also died.
The cost of damages was estimated at P11.5 billion pesos, while economic loss was P6 billion.