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Duterte gives P500M to soldiers wounded in battle

President Duterte shares a light moment with Cpl. Renante Guipitcio during a visit to wounded soldiers and policemen fighting in Marawi at the Adventist Medical Center in Iligan City.

MANILA, Philippines — Five hundred million pesos has been allotted for soldiers wounded in the siege of Marawi City and other conflicts in the country, President Rodrigo Duterte announced on Tuesday.

"I’m sure you’ll be all right. Your life will be okay. Your medicines and the education of your children will be taken cared of. I just released P500 million for those wounded," Duterte said Tuesday during the launch of the Karne't, Isda Supply Support sa Masa at Ekonomiya project.

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"That money will be exclusive for the wounded and their requirements for prosthetics or whatever. Including those who are wounded or rendered disabled in the other theaters of war, all throughout the country," he added.

As to the source of the fund, the president said, "Mayaman ang ano ngayon. Nagbayad na kasi 'yung may mga utang na malalaki (We are now rich because those who owe us a lot have already paid)."

The five-month battle in Marawi killed more than a thousand individuals most of whom were Islamist militants who tried to establish a province of the so-called Islamic State in the city.

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Scores of soldiers were also injured during the war, the most serious security problem to have faced the Philippines and Southeast Asia in years.

More than 300,000 residents of Marawi and its adjacent areas were also displaced by the intense battles which also torched the lakeside town's once-bustling center.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana estimated that at least P50 billion would be needed for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the city.

Duterte also disclosed that the government would provide more spacious housing units to the soldiers, and this would be near the city, so they would have access to rehabilitation and medical treatment.

"I have ordered a village somewhere near Metro Manila for easy access. If possible I want it to be nearby. I will immediately give you the units which will be more spacious and bigger than the ones given in the past. They will be similar to the units for soldiers being constructed elsewhere," said Duterte who told military personnel and police that he loved them.

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The president also reiterated that he would not allow the military to buy second-hand equipment, which was the practice by previous administrations.

"You can acquire the best of equipments (sic) and I want it to be new. I am not about to embark on buying second-hand armaments," he said.

"It's either we buy brand new or none at all," he stressed.

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He added that he would support a program that would re-hire wounded security personnel after they had trained and acquired new skills to qualify them for jobs that would not require them to be on the field.

"I want you to train, and I want you to know that there's life after Marawi," he said to the applause of his audience.

 "You might want to go to a computer training or whatever. And if you can be accommodated in the AFP again for a job that does not require moving around, I’d be glad to fund the program," the chief executive added.

He also assured soldiers and cops that the release of their medicines and other needs would not be hampered by bureaucratic red tape.

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