President Rodrigo Duterte, bidding to prevent further destruction of the war-torn city of Marawi, plans to build a military camp there, the Palace said on Tuesday as the government’s rehabilitation efforts remained in full swing.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte floated his plan during the 37th Cabinet meeting last Monday in Malacañang.
“President Duterte reiterated his interest to establish a military camp in the Islamic City before his term ends to better protect the City as well as the country,” Panelo said in a statement.
On May 23, 2017, homegrown terrorists laid siege to the Islamic City to create an Islamic caliphate in the area.
The incident prompted the President to put the entire Lanao del Sur capital under martial law to eradicate Islamic State-inspired Maute Group.
The new camp would then serve as the headquarters for the country’s armed forces to protect the security of civilians and prevent the reentry of terrorists now that the Task Force Bangon Marawi, tasked to restore the damaged city, has shared its accomplishments.
In a Palace press briefing, Panelo said the task force had presented a report showing its priorities and accomplishments for the full restoration of the war-torn city.
“They showed their priorities. There are a lot… like the construction of housing units. Over 3,000 houses, too many. The rehabilitation efforts are staggered,” he said.
“We are just listening to their presentation. In other words, the rehabilitation remains okay. It’s going and pushing through,” he added.
In his previous speech, the President bared he will not spend any more money to rebuild Marawi City, saying he will just allow affluent residents and businessmen to spend for the full restoration of the war-torn city after suffering damages from a five-month-long armed conflict.
Malacañang then clarified that Duterte was speaking to Marawi-based businessmen, saying that they, as rich people, should be the one to spend for their wrecked buildings and not depend on the government. According to Panelo, the Duterte administration would continue the rehabilitation of Marawi City.
Last Jan. 30, Duterte led the groundbreaking ceremony for a new military camp in Barangay Kapantaran, which will be completed and functional in less than two years.