MANILA— Troops from the Philippine Navy’s Naval Construction Brigade or “Seabees” have joined the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts in war-torn Marawi City.
This, according to Navy spokesperson Capt. Lued Lincuna on Saturday, saying at least 50 Seabees specializing in heavy equipment were deployed to Marawi as early as Sept. 9.
“They were equipped with seven assorted heavy equipment to participate in the rehab of Marawi and presently conducting clearing and cleaning operations and repair of essential buildings and infras (infrastructures),” Lincuna said.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero earlier said military engineering units are at the forefront of the clearing operation in Marawi City.
“Right now, we have also our engineers here in the area (Marawi City and they are) composed Army, Air Force and Navy engineers (who) are also undertaking debris clearing in the most affected areas, Guerrero added.
Since clearing operations began last Oct. 23, Guerrero said engineering units have recovered 77 assorted firearms, believed to be owned by members of the Maute terrorist group.
Eleven cadavers were also found, which are presently undergoing DNA testing and swabbing for identification purposes.
Aside from debris clearing, the AFP is also tasked to maintain security in Marawi and clear the area of cadavers and unexploded ordnance left by ISIS-inspired groups.
Fighting in Marawi City started after government troops tried to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS emir in Southeast Asia, Isnilon Hapilon, last May 23.
It was only declared over when authorities positively identified Hapilon and Omar Maute, one of the co-founders of the Maute Group, as among the about 1,000 terrorists killed in the five-month campaign to liberate Marawi.