With the 154-day battle in the Islamic City of Marawi over, Malacañang on Monday announced the need for the steps to take after the victory.
“With the liberation of Marawi, our focus now shifts to the enormous and challenging task of rebuilding, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of the Islamic City,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said in a statement.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s announcement halting military operations in the war-torn city marked not only the military’s triumph against the Maute fighters but also the necessity for the government to address the war aftermath.
“The damage to Marawi’s infrastructure and private properties and the displacement of thousands of residents require the government’s unified and comprehensive effort, thus, we call on all our citizens to come together to move our country forward towards a peaceful, prosperous and secure future,” Abella added.
Furthermore, Abella commended the government troops, including the fallen, for their courage, gallantry, and sacrifice.
“A snappy salute to all of you,” he said.
In another statement, Senator Bam Aquino supported Malacañang.
“Now, we must illuminate the hopeful Filipino spirit. It’s time to work together to heal, rebuild and create prosperity in Marawi City,” the Senator, a member of the Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation said.
Aquino added, “Our Armed Forces deserve our utmost praise and gratitude for this victory and for sacrificing their lives to bring peace to our country.”
Marawi City Mayor Majul Usman Gandamra said earlier in an interview with CNN Philippines that it may take three or more years to fully rehabilitate the city.
“Talagang sa laki ng pinsala ho ‘yung destruction talagang ‘pag nakita mo, I don’t think matatapos natin within three years but at least may timeline (With the extent of the damage, if you see the destruction, I don’t think we can finish rehabilitating within three years. But at least we have a timeline,” he said in the same interview.
This five-month siege that started on May 23 and ended on October 23 urged President Rodrigo Duterte to declare Martial Law in Mindanao.