MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday promised that his administration will double its efforts to hasten to complete the rehabilitation projects in Marawi City.
Duterte made the vow as he led the commemorative rites of the fourth anniversary of the liberation of Marawi City from Islamic State-linked terrorists.
"Let me take this opportunity to reassure the people of Marawi that the government is doing its best to expedite the completion of rehabilitation projects at the soonest time possible. We, in government, are strongly committed to bring back the city's glory," he said in his keynote speech at the Rizal Park in Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.
Duterte said it is "very important" to rebuild the lives of residents of Marawi City that were destroyed following the siege that started on May 23, 2017 between government troops and the terrorists.
He added that the government's resolve is to restore damaged properties and revitalize disrupted socio-economic activities.
"It is my pleasure to join you today as we mark this historic occasion by allowing the rays of hope to light up the darkness that once enveloped the City of Marawi," Duterte said. "We will continue to foster cooperation among concerned stakeholders so that Marawi will be able to build back better and stronger."
Duterte also lauded the Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM), local officials, and other partners for working together to rehabilitate the city.
He said the TFBM's hard work to accomplish the programs, projects, and activities under the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program is "truly commendable."
He also expressed appreciation to the TFBM and other stakeholders for their efforts and sacrifices that ensured the complete rehabilitation of the Grand Mosque.
"This place (Grand Mosque) holds a historical and cultural significance in the lives of the Maranaws. We rejoice as a nation and the Grand Mosque of Marawi brings hope anew for our Muslim brothers and sisters," Duterte said.
Duterte hoped that there will be no more Marawi-type siege in the country while commending state forces and the locals for their "bravery, sacrifice, and determination" in defending and liberating Marawi City.
"To the people of Marawi and to our kababayans (countrymen), rest assured that this government, this administration remains steadfast in securing our nation against terrorism, violent extremism, and other lawless elements," Duterte said. "With your support, I am confident that we will overcome any challenge that may test our strength and unity as a nation."
The government declared Marawi City free from the Maute terrorist group in October 2017, or nearly five months after the war started.
On June 28, 2017, Duterte inked Administrative Order 3 which created the TFBM that is mandated to oversee the rehabilitation, recovery, and reconstruction efforts in Marawi City and help displaced families recover.
TFBM Chairperson and Housing Secretary Eduardo del Rosario said on October 1 that around 30 infrastructure projects have been completed.
He reiterated all projects in Marawi City will be finished within Duterte's term. (PNA)