MALACAÑANG yesterday called for continued public support for the government’s rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City exactly one year after it was liberated from the ISIS-inspired Maute group.
In a statement, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the liberation of Marawi City on October 17, 2017 marked the beginning of healing and rebuilding in the Islamic city.
“As we celebrate the triumphs of our government troops against the Daesh-inspired Maute rebels, we pay tribute to those who have fallen in the fierce battles during the siege of Marawi and gave the ultimate sacrifice to make our nation safer and more secure,” he said. Daesh is another name for the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
“The liberation of Marawi conveyed one strong message: Our people stand – and will unceasingly stand – united against the evils of terrorism,” he added.
On May 23 last year, the Maute Group attacked Marawi City, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to place the entire island of Mindanao under martial law.
But after almost five months of battle, Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute, one of the leaders of the Maute group, were killed.
Panelo said the deaths of Hapilon and Maute prevented the establishment of an Islamic caliphate in the area and stopped the possible spread of rebellion to the rest of the country.
“Despite this feat, the government, with the help of its armed forces, will remain vigilant in the midst of quiet for possible terrorist threats that may again strike our nation,” he said.
Since then, the government has started its rehabilitation efforts in the city. Duterte has likewise issued Administrative Order No. 3 creating Task Force Bangon Marawi which is responsible for the recovery and reconstruction of the city.
“Efforts to build a vibrant and prosperous Marawi from the rubbles of war and conflict will soon come into fruition as we expect the groundbreaking of reconstruction activities, designed with due recognition of the cultural sensitivities of its residents, by the end of the month,” Panelo said.
“We therefore ask everyone to remain fully supportive of the government’s initiatives in this regard,” he added.
The declaration of martial law in Mindanao, however, has not been lifted. Congress granted Duterte’s request for another extension of martial law in the South. It will lapse on December 31 this year.