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Duterte urged to lift martial law in Mindanao
May 24 2018 01:26 AM
Activists display a banner and a mural of President Rodrigo Duterte to denounce the declaration of martial law in Mindanao island, one year after militants occupied parts of the southern city of Marawi during a protest outside the presidential palace in Metro Manila, yesterday.

Manila Times/Manila

The opposition Liberal Party has urged the government to lift the martial law decree imposed on Mindanao, claiming it was preventing Marawi City from healing the wounds inflicted by the Maute attack last year.
In a statement, the erstwhile ruling party pointed out that the congressional hearings on the President’s martial law declaration revealed that there was no rebellion in Mindanao that warranted the extension of the decree to December 2018.
Threats of a rebellion are present, but do not qualify as the Constitution only provides for martial law in the presence of a rebellion or an invasion, it said. The party also said the government should “put their money where their mouth is” and focus more on providing 26,000 permanent shelters for Marawi citizens.
So far, only 1,000 temporary shelters have been built for the affected communities, it claimed.
It also noted that the presence of two Chinese contractors – China State Construction Engineering Corp. and China Geo Engineering Corp – in rehabilitation efforts, as the two Chinese companies were blacklisted by the World Bank in 2009 for allegedly violating regulations and for supposed corruption.
Malacamang however expressed satisfaction with the efforts to rehabilitate Marawi City, saying majority of the residents were back in the war-torn city.
In a news conference, Palace spokesman Harry Roque Jr said the government was ahead in the provision of temporary and permanent shelters for Marawi residents displaced by fighting between the military and local terrorists.
“The good news is, as far as the residents are concerned, 70% of the residents have gone back to their homes…That is under a year’s time. We are even ahead of schedule in terms of rebuilding of the communities,” he said.
The government aims to build a total of 6,400 temporary shelters and 2,500 permanent shelters to be given to the poorest and most conflict-affected Marawi residents, he said. Col. Romeo Brawner Jr, deputy commander for Joint Task Force Ranao, said on Tuesday that 70% of the whole city had “returned to normal.”
Moreover, 85% of the city has been cleared of bombs, which will pave the way for developers to enter the main battle area and start rehabilitation.
Roque said President Rodrigo Duterte was slated to visit Marawi City to mark the first anniversary of the attack.
Duterte declared Marawi liberated in October last year after government troops killed terrorist leaders Isnilon
Hapilon and Omar Maute following a five-month armed conflict. More than 1,000 people, mostly terror fighters, died amid the clashes.

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