Marawi City to Rise Again as Aid from Japan, US, International Community Pours In

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President Rodrigo Roa Duterte makes his fourth visit to the troops battling against the terrorists in Marawi City. The President went into the battle zone eight times to boost the morale of the soldiers and saw for himself the massive destruction. After declaring the war is over, Duterte immediately launched a massive rehabilitation and reconstruction of the Islamic city.
MARAWI CITY/TOKYO (PhilAmPress) — Marawi City will rise again as the Islamic queen city in the south.
Philippine leaders headed by President Rodrigo Duterte made the pledge as the United States, Japan, China, Australia, Canada and the international community vowed aid and support to the ongoing clearing, rehabilitation and reconstruction projects in the city following the end of hostilities with the ISIS-inspired Maute group after five months of battle that killed more than 1,500 people, many of them soldiers and policemen, and displaced some 300,000 residents.
Aside from claiming the lives of 920 militants, 165 troops and 47 civilians, according to government figures, thousands of buildings were destroyed, with entire districts turned into piles of rubble.
Aid has started pouring in from the international community, including countries and organizations, and apan is the latest to expressed support to the Marawi reconstruction as conveyed personally by Prime MinisterShinzo  Abe to the President in their meeting in Tokyo in sign of a deepening of ties to counter China’s regional influence.
Officials said the government has received assistance from Canada, China, Germany, South Korea, India, Thailand, Singapore, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the ASEAN Coordinating Center for Humanitarian Assistance on Management for the early recovery and rehabilitation efforts in Marawi City and other affected areas.
 
Kristoffer James Purisima, deputy administrator of Office of Civil Defense (OCD), said the multi-agency created for Marawi has received additional pledges from Australia, Japan, the United States, European Union, Asian Development Bank, World Bank and United Nations Development Program.
“The details shall be provided soonest as the financial and resource management support group is firming up the details and commitments,” Purisima said

In Tokyo, Prime Minister Abe said “The Government of Japan recognizes that rehabilitation and reconstruction of the City of Marawi and is extremely important.”

Japan also offered to help with other projects ranging from rail infrastructure to river defenses including a possible 600 billion yen loan to help fund development of a subway in Manila.
The Philippine government which has earmarked an initial P5 billion for the reconstruction which is expected to cost close to P300 billion planss to issue “Marawi bonds” in January 2018 as part of the rehabilitation funds for the war-torn city, Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said .

 

“As far as the Marawi bond is concerned, it’s a go and we will probably issue it early next year—in January,”  Diokno said.
Duterte pledged earlier to allocate at least P20 billion to rehabilitate Marawi. The money would be released in three tranches—P5 billion this year, P10 billion in 2018, and the balanced in 2019.
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US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in an earlier meeting with Duterte in  Malacanang, commended Manila on the operation to end the Marawi siege and discussed ways to deepen US-Philippines military ties in talks with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana..
US Ambassador to Manila Sung Kim said earlier the US military assistance made a “huge difference” in the battle in Marawi, particularly its intelligence support, including with the deployment of Gray Eagle and P-3 Orion aircraft.
“I think all of us were surprised by the extent of infiltration by the terrorists into Marawi City,” he said.
“When you encounter a situation like that, you obviously need good intelligence to be able to target key areas and I think that’s where our support was quite critical.”
Earlier, Australian Defense Minister Marise Payne said the Philippine government has accepted her country’s offer of two AP-3C Orion aircraft to provide surveillance support to the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“The regional threat from terrorism, in particular from Daesh and foreign fighters, is a direct threat to Australia and our interests. Australia will continue to work with our partners in South East Asia to counter it,” Payne said in a statement.
As this developed, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has a new Chief of Staff and readily upon assumption ordered a no-nonsense campaign to rid the country of terrorists, communist rebels and other threats.
Lt. Gen. Rey Leonardo Guerrero, a decorated soldier who is the new AFP chief of staff of the 130,000-strong army, directed all AFP troops to eradicate all threats to peace and security in the country.
Guerrero said he is determined to finish off the remaining terrorist groups, neutralize the communist insurgency threat, and support law enforcement agencies in their campaign against lawless armed groups.
AFP public affairs office chief Col. Edgard Arevalo said the move echoes President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to eliminate lawless elements following the liberation of Marawi City from the hands of the ISIS-inspired Maute group.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Marawi residents have returned to safe barangays while the armed forces continued pulling out troops from the war-zone giving them much-needed respite.
“Lt. Gen. Guerrero welcomes his new responsibilities with strong momentum from his leadership of the Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC), a similarly tall order given the area’s susceptibility from terror threats and insurgency,” Arevalo said.


Guerrero, who is concurrently EMC Commander, was tasked to dismantle New People’s Army (NPA) bands that are concentrated in the Davao Region, Caraga Region, and Northern Mindanao.

At the same time, he was also tasked to curb the spread of violence and terrorism in his area of responsibility, especially during the Marawi City siege.

“The priorities in the area of peace and security are clear: finish the remaining terrorist groups, neutralize the communist insurgency threat, and support law enforcement against lawless armed groups,” Guerrero said in his assumption speech during the AFP change of command ceremonies last week.

Guerrero replaced Gen. Eduardo Ano who reached the mandatory age of retirement but was immediately tapped by President Duterte to be the next secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government.
In other developments:
1. The Philippine Navy (PN) honored the Fleet-Marine contingent’s successful deployment in Marawi City in the liberation of the locality from the hands of the Maute Group terrorists.
These military personnel were transported from Iligan City to Manila by the BRP Tarlac (LD-601) shortly after the successful conclusion of the campaign which was highlighted by the elimination of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute Group founder, Omar Maute, last October 23.

2. Catholic prelates asked the faithful to pray for their departed loved ones as well as the victims of the recent fighting in Marawi City in line with the country’s observance of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day.

Marawi City Bishop Edwin dela Peña  asked the faithful under his diocese to pray for the souls of more than 1,000 people who died in the five-month long battle between government forces and Maute group in the city.
3. Japan  will help the Philippines rebuild conflict-torn southern Marawi city as well as other infrastructure in a deepening of ties to counter China’s regional influence, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made the pledges in a joint statement with Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte following talks in Tokyo.

“The Government of Japan recognizes that rehabilitation and reconstruction of the City of Marawi and is extremely important,” the statement said.

Japan also offered to help with other projects ranging from rail infrastructure to river defenses including a possible 600 billion yen loan to help fund development of a subway in Manila.


In his speech, Guerrero also vowed to continue reform programs in the military, improve further its capability, and revisit war-fighting doctrines in light of new “battlefield environments,” referring to urban warfare in Marawi City which lasted for five months and killed scores of soldiers, policemen and civilians, aside from the hundreds of terrorists and hundreds of unidentified persons believed to be still buried in the rubbles of the destroyed buildings in the war zone.

“We will aggressively implement our modernization program and fast-track the procurement of advance weapons systems that provide cost-effective and precise target engagement, long-range and high-endurance unmanned systems, and modern air and naval platforms,” he said.

The new AFP chief said he also seeks to “refine internal processes including improvements on services and transparency and accountability of transactions”.

“My gratitude knows no bounds, and I think that the best way to show our President and our countrymen is to serve our country with selfless dedication and to lead the AFP with purpose,” Guerrero added.

Gen. Guerrero said his commanding the AFP comes at the right time as the military is enjoying strong support from the public and the government, especially from President Duterte.

“Men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, there is no better time for us to finish our campaign than now, our high approval and trust rating show that we have the overwhelming support of our countrymen and our Commander-in-Chief is providing us with the tools and resources to (complete) our mission,” Guerrero said.


Early last week, the AFP  declared the neutralization of the Maute Group following the total liberation of Marawi City and killing of 920 terrorists in the five-month battle.

“Our human resources will be developed as we procure additional personnel to fill up units to be organized, leader development will be enhanced to better prepare emerging leaders to assume key positions in our organization and for them to effectively discharge their duties and responsibilities in a complex security environment,” the new AFP chief added.
Guerrero also said that the AFP Modernization Program will continue to give the military the necessary land, air and naval platforms needed to enable it to fulfill its various security missions.

“We will aggressively implement our modernization program and fast-track the procurement of advanced weapon systems that provide cost-effective and precise target engagement, long-range and high-endurance unmanned systems, and modern air and naval platforms for strategic lift, interdictions, surveillance and reconnaissance,” the new AFP chief said.


Guerrero is a member of the Philippine Military Academy Class of 1984 and will serve for only a few months but already officials are looking into extending his term.

Prior to his appointment to the EMC, he also commanded the Jamindan, Capiz-based 3rd Infantry Division, the 701st Infantry Brigade, Task Force Davao, Commander, and also served as Philippine Army chief.

Guerrero is a decorated military officer having been awarded the Distinguished Service Star four times, the Order of Lakandula (Degree of Commander); the Philippine Legion of Honor (Degree of Officer); and the Honorary Airborne Wings from the Royal Thai Army. (PhilAmPress)

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