MILITARY and civilian engineers are now conducting clearing operations in Marawi City under the government’s massive rehabilitation efforts, Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said last Sunday.
The defense chief also said assessment teams from various agencies were also already in the city to study the actual destruction of severely damaged structures as part of the reconstruction efforts.
“The rehab has started with the deployment of the PCNA [Post-Conflict Needs Assessment] teams composed of about 200 people from various agencies,” Lorenzana said.
“They will make the assessment of damage and estimate the cost of rehabilitation. This will take about one week to two weeks,” he added.
The rehabilitation efforts followed President Duterte’s pronouncement on Tuesday last week that the city has been liberated from the clutches of terrorists.
Lorenzana said military and civilian personnel from the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) have also started clearing roads to allow the entry of equipment needed for the massive reconstruction work.
“Our engineering brigade and the DPWH are now starting to clear roads and remove debris,” Lorenzana added.
The defense chief also said six military battalions will remain in Marawi City for the rehabilitation efforts and maintain security.
The clearing works began amid the ongoing combat operations against 10 remnants of the Islamic State-inspired terrorists still holed up in a very small area in Marawi City.
Military Spokesman Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla Jr. said soldiers are still hunting down 10 terrorists, led by Malaysian Amin Baco, alias Jihad.
Two more foreign jihadists are believed to be with Baco.
Padilla added there were also around 10 more hostages being held by the terrorists.
“They have no more influence to the general situation there…they are cornered,” Padilla said.
He added the military is doing its best to finally free Marawi City with the terrorists.
Earlier, Armed Forces Western Mindanao Command commander Lt. Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said Marawi City could be declared totally free from the terrorists on Sunday.
A total of 897 terrorists, 164 government troops and 47 civilians were killed from the rebellion, while 850 firearms, most of them high-powered, were seized.
A total of 1,777 civilians were also rescued.