President Rodrigo Roa Duterte made an assurance Monday to rebuild Marawi City despite the current hurdles particularly overlapping land titles and the community itself.
“The money is there. Do not worry. And we will continue to spend until such time that Marawi is rebuilt to its former glory. It might take — you know, it’s not easy to do that but it might take some time before we can really reach the ideal place that you’d call home,” President Duterte said in a televised address on government response on COVID-19.
The President was responding to complaints over slow rebuilding efforts and the government’s inability to immediately resettle populations displaced by the conflict three years ago.
But the President said resettling the people and solving the city’s problem are not easy.
“You know, Marawi is not that easy. We started it and we are at it already because ‘yung — the clearing of explosives ang matagal. Then we have to contend with titles. Iyong mga titles ninyo diyan doble-doble. So there’s no one — there’s no title that is really very clean,” he explained.
“As a matter of fact, the land itself belongs to the military, the whole of it, diyan banda. Ang tawag diyan Camp Keithley,” he added.
Previous presidents issued proclamations partitioning Camp Keithley Military Reservation, now Marawi City. And in releasing the land to public domain, some individual titles overlap.
President Duterte also brushed off criticisms that Marawi City had not been fully liberated.
“In the meantime, itong mga tao na nagrereklamo na ang sabi there is no liberation of Marawi yet. Look, government liberated Marawi not from the people of Marawi. We do not do that and we never did it. We liberated Marawi against the terrorist, Maute pati ‘yung ISIS,” he said.
“We never said that it is occupied by anybody, except by the government and the peace-loving Filipinos. Of course, it is not freed by the activities of the terrorist. But if you’re talking about liberation tapos na ‘yan at the expense of blood of both sides,” he added.
President Duterte said it was distressing for him as commander-in-chief to see a lot of soldiers sacrificing their lives in the battle for Marawi City, noting the government had no choice but to destroy the city to neutralize the enemy. PND