MANILA – As the country commemorates the third anniversary of the Marawi siege, Malacañang on Saturday honored the government troops who offered their lives to liberate the Islamic City from the hands Dawlah Islamiya-Maute extremist group.
“Today, as we remember Marawi, we pay tribute to the heroism of our fallen men in uniform during the siege of the Islamic City,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a press statement.
The Philippine Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade held Saturday a simple commemoration of the third anniversary of the Marawi siege at Kampo Ranao in Marawi City.
It also remembered the sacrifices of the fallen heroes who fought hard to stop the violence of the terrorist group that attempted to establish a “Wilayat” or administrative state in Mindanao.
The Marawi siege, which began on May 23, 2017, prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire Mindanao under martial rule until Dec. 31, 2019 to quell the terrorism in the southern part of the country.
Over 1,200 people died in the battle until government forces finally liberated Marawi City from terrorists in October 2017.
A total of 168 soldiers and policemen died during the Marawi siege that displaced thousands of people in the Islamic city.
Roque said the Palace also appreciates the Marawi residents‘ continued support to the government amid efforts to rehabilitate the city.
“The task of rebuilding Marawi remains enormous. We thank the people of Marawi for their patience and support to the government as we are also grateful to our partners and allies for continuously working with the Administration to ensure Marawi’s successful rehabilitation,” he said.
Roque said the Duterte government has already made inroads in relocating internally displaced persons (IDPs) and building the key infrastructures of Marawi.
Citing the Task Force Bangon Marawi’s (TFBM) report, Roque said the National Housing Authority has programmed a total of 4,866 transitional shelters for IDPs.
As of January this year, around 2, 911 housing units have already been occupied, Roque said.
“The remaining balance of housing units are in different stages of completion and it is expected that they will be finished before yearend,” he said.
Roque noted that the government is also targeting to build 3,580 units of permanent shelter that will be completed in the first quarter of 2021.
“Currently, 165 units are occupied,” Roque said.
Roque added that the reconstruction of Mapandi Bridge, the center of the initial clashes, is now “100 percent complete.”
On Thursday, TFBM chairperson and Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario announced the approval of the PHP3.56-billion budget for Marawi rehabilitation. (PNA)