More than a year after the now infamous Marawi siege, the government will finally push through with groundbreaking rites on Oct. 17 to signal the start of the city’s rehabilitation right at the heart of the five-month war at ground zero.
The groundbreaking rites marks the first year since President Rodrigo Duterte declared the city’s liberation. A week after on Oct. 23, combat operations ended.
According to Task Force Bangon Marawi chairman Eduardo del Rosario, the ceremony will start with the clearing of the remaining debris at the 6-hectare area “most affected” by the conflict.
The debris clearing operations, which will amount to P75 million, will be carried out by a local firm.
“After debris clearing, we will undertake road network construction with underground facilities. Once it is done, we will proceed with vertical structures, construct 320 classrooms, 24 barangay centers, a convention center, grand central market, school for living tradition, parking area, and so forth,” Del Rosario said in a Palace press briefing.
Originally, the groundbreaking was set for June, set a cost of P16 billion, but decided to suspend it due to problems in the procurement process.
Del Rosario also said that the military has already cleared ground zero of about 80 percent of unexploded ordinance, paving the way for the panned groundbreaking.
He added that the local firm tasked to clear the debris will detect and remove the unexploded bombs still in the area.
The target of the rehabilitation, Del Rosario said, is by the fourth quarter of 2021, a few months before the President steps down from office.
The Marawi siege killed at least 1,100 individuals, mostly terrorists, were killed in the siege that erupted between state forces and Islamic State-inspired terrorists, who were aiming to establish an ISIS caliphate in Mindanao, in May 2017.
The firefights left most of Marawi City in ruins much of the once bustling urban and cultural center in ruins.
But security experts believe that the threat ISIS poses in the region remains, complicating efforts to bring the city back to normal.