Defense dept welcomes private, civil sector aid for Marawi rehab

MANILA — Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that while the government will do everything to expedite the rehabilitation of war-torn Marawi City, they are grateful for whatever assistance the private sector and civil society organizations could extend in this endeavor.

In his message read to various stakeholders who gathered during Friday’s “Bangon Marawi” forum at the Conrad Grand Hotel in Pasay City, Lorenzana urged “our partners to reach out to government through Task Force ‘Bangon Marawi’ so that our efforts can be properly coordinated and managed and our assistance to communities will be properly delivered”.

“I would like to assure our countrymen from Marawi City and other affected communities that their needs are being addressed with utmost consideration of their faith and culture. We will do our best to speed things up,” he said in the message that was read by Office of Civil Defense deputy administrator for administration, Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima.

“We are one nation and we stand together during the bad time(s), and more so, during the trying times that test our resolve as a nation. No one will be left behind as we embark on this great endeavor to revive and rekindle affected communities and enable them to rejoin in the progressive advance of our beloved country, the Philippines.”

Consultations with the local government and Muslim community leaders are ongoing to ensure that rehabilitation efforts are aimed at inclusivity, ensure the adequacy, suitability and acceptability of the rehabilitation plans and the support systems, he said.

“Various committees under Task Force ‘Bangon Marawi’ are already working hard to attend to the complex requirements of post-conflict rehab and recovery. Transition shelters are being considered now along with the support infrastructure, like schools and markets, to facilitate the eventual return to normalcy of the way of life of our beloved Maranaws,” the defense chief said.

Earlier, Lorenzana said the rehabilitation of Marawi City is aimed at repairing and ensuring that all infrastructure, bridges, streets, and other facilities are cleared and put in running order as quickly as possible.

Evacuees whose houses were not damaged in the fighting will be quickly returned to their homes as soon as possible, he added.

“Then, we will (open) stores and deploy Department of Trade and Industry’s rolling stores to ensure that returning evacuees will have sources of supplies and their other daily needs,” Lorenzana said.

There are also plans to build temporary homes for residents whose homes were damaged by the fighting which began last May 23 when government forces attempted to arrest Abu Sayyaf leader and ISIS “emir” Isnilon Hapilon.

“As soon as the last shot is fired, the rehabilitation phase will start immediately. All available engineering equipment are there, including (those of) the Department of Public Works and Highways,” the defense chief noted. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA –