THE Philippine Navy spent nearly half a billion pesos for fuel and ammunition alone during the five-month campaign to liberate Marawi from terrorists, whose battle with government troops left the city in shambles.
The cost of the war for the Marines and sailors, who participated in the military’s effort to free the city from the clutches of the Islamic State-Maute Group, was disclosed on Monday by Navy Chief Vice Adm. Ronald Joseph S. Mercado.
“As far as the Philippine Navy is concerned, just for the ammunition alone, we spent half a billion pesos in ammunition and fuel,” Mercado said during the “hero’s welcome” he led at Pier 13 in Manila for the returning Marines and Navy personnel.
“Just imagine the number of trips this year that we undertook to bring all our combat vehicles, artillery, ammunition and people from all over the different islands down to Iligan Island, and the fuel for our helicopters. It’s very costly,” he said.
The Navy and the Marines contributed about 20 percent to 30 percent of the military forces that participated in the successful effort to retake Marawi City from the occupying terrorists.
The half-billion pesos formed part of the P5 billion that Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana estimated earlier as a possible Armed Forces spending in bringing the rebellion in Marawi City to cease.
Mercado said the spending meant nothing compared to the death of 36 personnel and the wounding of at least 300 others for the Navy and the Marines during the operation.
“For us, even one death is already too much,” he said.
The Navy chief said it is costly to move armaments and other logistics during massive operations as he hoped the Marawi City siege would be the last for the government.
“Just for the Philippine Navy, the fuel we utilized for moving one ship so many times. This is the very reason we hope it doesn’t happen again,” he said.
Mercado said Navy personnel and Marines who participated in the battle for Marawi will take a short break in order to be with their families before they undergo retraining and prepare for their next assignments.