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Marawi City commemorates first anniversary of liberation from terrorists

FILE PHOTO: Residents who returned from evacuation centers walk past a bullet-ridden house believed to have been rented by pro-Islamic State militant group leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute before their attack on the region, in Basak, Malutlut district in Marawi city, Philippines October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco/File Photo

This Wednesday, October 17, Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur celebrates the first anniversary of President Rodrigo Duterte declaring the liberation of the city from Islamic State inspired terrorists.

As part of the celebration, residents expect that the President will visit the besieged city.

The President daw is coming to Marawi to launch, to ground-break of the debris clearing,” Samira Guntoc – Tomawis, a former member of the Bangsamoro Transition Commission, said during DZRH’s Damdaming Bayan.

Guntoc, a civic leader in Marawi, said that, out of the more than 200,000 residents of Marawi who fled during the five month siege, about 1/3 of them or 80,000 individuals have returned to the razed city.

She also mentioned that the National Housing Authority and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council has just completed about 1,000 and 2,000 housing units, which is not enough for the returning families.

We’re talking 200,000 individuals, we only have 1,000 plus or 2,000 na rin na nagawa na shelter ni President,” Guntoc explained

Ang dami pang kailangan gawin at mukhang na-cacaught up tayo sa bureaucracy ng funding. Importante ay ma-facilitate na ang complementary return of Marawi residents at government programming,” Guntoc added.

Guntoc further reported that the government thru the Department of Trade and Industry and other cooperative agencies have allocated Php 79 million for their livelihood cash assistance program for the residents.

More than 1,000 individuals were killed during the armed conflict between government troops and the Maute Terror Group that started on May 2017, and ended in October that same year.

The siege also caused the displacement of thousands of residents, and damaged billions worth of properties, and livelihood in the capitol city of Lanao Del Sur.

Duterte declared the liberation of the city following the deaths of terrorist leaders Omar Maute and Isnilon Hapilon thru military attacks.

Meanwhile, United States of America (USA) Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim announced the launching of the Marawi Response Project, a three year program of the USA Agency for International Development (USAID).

Under the said project, USAID will commit Php US$ 25 million, or about Php 1.35 billion, to improve the economic and social conditions of communities directly affected by the five-month siege.

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