By Ralph Villanueva/Manila Times
The people of Marawi are in favour of a plan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to build a military camp in the city, a member of the task force overseeing the rehabilitation of Marawi said yesterday.
In a Task Force Bangon Marawi news briefing in Malacanang, Toby Purisima, Office of Civil Defence assistant secretary, said feedback on the plan from consultations with the people of Marawi was generally favourable.
“We have to remember, security measures are needed in the most affected area because of what happened in the past, the incident that resulted in the destruction of the most affected area (in Marawi),” Purisima added, referring to the siege of the city by the Maute terrorist group from May to October last year.
“We really need security measures in the area. And based on our feedback during our consultations, the residents of the most affected area are in favour of the camp here,” he said.
Purisima reiterated that the people of Marawi are not being bypassed on any step of the rehabilitation.
On January 30, President Rodrigo Duterte led groundbreaking for the new military camp in Marawi.
The 10-hectare camp will cost P400mn and will be developed in Barangay Kapataran.
The AFP earlier said the military camp would deter another siege by terrorist groups.
The Manila Times reported on February 26 that terrorists from Marawi are regrouping and that they may be gearing up for another attack elsewhere.
Earlier this year, civilian group Ranaw Multi-Sectoral Movement opposed the government’s plan to build the camp, saying they are being ignored by the task force.
The group said the rehabilitation of Marawi did not consider the presence of the residents who had been there for so long.
“Plans have been made without our participation. Plans that neither bear the stamp of our will nor reflect our culture. Plans whose mechanics and implementation are not clear to us,” it said in a statement.
According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, 353,921 individuals, or 77,179 families, were displaced from Marawi City and neighbouring municipalities because of the five-month war.
Duterte initially signed Proclamation 216, which declared martial law and suspended the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao for 60 days on May 23, 2017, in order to stabilise the situation in Marawi.
On July 22, martial law was then extended until the end of the year.
On December 13, 2017, the last day of Congress, military rule was again extended for the whole of 2018 to speed up the rehabilitation and to stunt the regrouping of the terrorists.
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