Army marks 5th year since liberation of Marawi City

Army marks 5th year since liberation of Marawi City

MANILA, Philippines — On the 5th anniversary of Marawi City’s liberation, Lt. Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. — commanding general of the Philippine Army — has paid tribute to fallen soldiers as well as to troops who participated in retaking the city from Islamic State-linked extremists.

Brawner also emphasized the need to strengthen the military.

“Let us be reminded to press on with our focus on military operations, and strengthen our intelligence capabilities, community relations activities, and our civil-military operations in order to contribute towards enduring peace and sustainable progress for our country,” Brawner said. 

In May 2017, a firefight erupted when Filipino security forces attempted a raid to arrest ISIS-affiliated Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon. Members of the radical Islamist organization Maute were called in for reinforcements, which prompted their five-month siege of the city.

The armed confrontation between the government and the IS-backed militants prompted then former President Rodrigo Duterte to declare martial law in Mindanao. It was said to be the “most significant terrorist event in Southeast Asia since the Bali bombings in 2002.” 

About 1,000 militants and 160 soldiers were killed, while over 370,000 individuals were left homeless after the siege.

“While the government’s rehabilitation efforts are almost completed, the annual commemoration of our victory will continue, and will always remind us that we need to move forward while learning from our experiences,” Brawner said.

RELATED: 'Expedite creation of compensation board for Marawi siege victims'

Rehabilitation and rebuilding

The previous administration reported that it completed 72% of the rehabilitation plans for the city just a month before former President Duterte stepped down from office in June this year. 

Meanwhile, the Human Settlements program handed over 1,000 permanent homes for internally displaced families. The houses were constructed with a $10-million funding support from the Japanese government, while the land these were build on were procured and developed by the Social Housing Finance Corp. and the National Housing Authorities.

The Department of Budget and Management also recently announced a P1-billion compensation fund for Marawi residents displaced by the conflict. — with reports from Franco Luna and The STAR/Louise Maureen Simeon

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