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Poor Marawi folk first in rehab plan

Poor residents of Marawi City will be given priority in the planned rehabilitation of the war-torn area, President Duterte said amid his optimism the conflict will be “over soon.”

The President said he has designated Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. to prepare the rebuilding plan for Marawi, initially the housing assistance for poor families displaced by the conflict.

“I pray that there will be a short period of war activity and we expect it to be over soon. We are ready ang gobyerno, ang ating Republic, to extend assistance,” Duterte said in a press conference during a military camp visit in Cagayan de Oro City last Sunday.

“Sabi ko kay Jun, when I was mayor of Davao City siya ‘yung sa housing ko, ‘Prepare a rehab plan for Marawi.’ Unahin ko lang ‘yung mga bahay na ‘yung mga mahirap,” he added.

If there will be any rehabilitation funds left, Duterte said these resources will be channeled to the affluent families affected by the conflict. “Kung wala na, pasensiya,” he said.

The President was in Cagayan de Oro to visit the troops wounded in clashes with the Maute-led armed group in Marawi. He gave them medals and financial assistance in a bid to boost their morale.

In his remarks, the President said he was neither proud nor happy with the declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao but stressed he was forced to resort to such action to quell the rebellion and lawless violence.

Citing information from the military, Duterte revealed that it was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, who ordered terrorist attacks in the country.

The rebellion initiated by the Islamic militants was funded by illegal drug money, and not fueled by religion, according to the President.

“I have to call the soldiers in because they were already occupying a definite territory and governance really has collapsed there in Marawi at saka they were already flying the ISIS flag,” he said.

To the “fools” opposing the Martial Law proclamation, the President explained that he had to place entire Mindanao under Martial Law to prevent the spillover of attacks from Marawi.

He said his critics failed to understand that lawless elements “can run everywhere and anywhere, and they can always find sanctuary and solace.” He said they could escape to Lanao del Norte or Basilan amid the hot government pursuit.

“Kung kagaya ngayon nagtatakbuhan na, you have to pursue them and if they are ordered, they might just ought to be terrorist states, bomba dito, bomba doon,” he said. “You have to grapple between the naive or a pretended naïveté,” he said. (Genalyn D. Kabiling)