PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of liberation of war-torn Marawi City paved the way for government's efforts to restore normalcy in the besieged southern city, Malacañang said on Tuesday.
Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the administration would proceed with its plan to rehabilitate the ruined city, where homes of thousands of displaced families were destroyed because of the deadly battle between government troops and terrorists that erupted on May 23.
Abella made the statement briefly after the President announced that the government troops have successfully liberated Marawi from Islamic State-affiliated militants.
"The declaration of PRRD marks the beginning of the recovery, reconstruction, and rehabilitation of Marawi. Our ground commanders will determine if it is safe for residents to return to the city as there may still be traps and unexploded ordnance in some areas. We will defer to their assessment and await their recommendation," the presidential spokesman said.
"The damage to the Islamic city's infrastructure and private properties and the displacement of thousands of residents require the government’s unified and comprehensive effort; thus, we call on all our citizens to come together to move our country forward towards a peaceful, prosperous and secure future," he added.
Duterte, during his visit to troops deployed in Marawi City earlier Tuesday, announced the liberation of Marawi City following the deaths of extremist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute on October 16.
The armed struggle in Marawi City has claimed the lives of over 1,000 people, including 847 Islamist fighters and 163 state forces.
Abella said the government was focused on bringing back peace and order in Marawi, following the liberation of the city.
"This is the time to channel our time and harness our energies to restore normalcy in the war-torn city and serve people’s aspirations for a comfortable life for all,” he said. (SunStar Philippines)