Photo taken on June 29, 2017 shows smoke rising up in Marawi City, the Philippines. The Philippine government is readying its plan to rebuild the besieged southern city of Marawi, which was devastated by the ongoing war between the troops and the militants inspired by the Islamic State (IS), a government official said Thursday. (Xinhua/Stringer)
MANILA, June 29 (Xinhua) -- The Philippine government is readying its plan to rebuild the besieged southern city of Marawi, which was devastated by the ongoing war between the troops and the militants inspired by the Islamic State (IS), a government official said Thursday.
Philippine Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar said a master plan for the rehabilitation of the war-torn city is already in place.
In a news conference at the Malacanang presidential palace, Villar said that his department is coordinating with the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao "in order to implement the plan very quickly."
He reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte "wants to implement the rehabilitation (of Marawi) quickly."
Villar said that building of residential facilities is also part of the plan.
Duterte said on Tuesday that the government has allocated 20 billion pesos (395.2 million U.S. dollars) for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the city and its people who were displaced during the 38 days of continuous fighting.
War broke out in the city when heavily-armed, black-clad militants displaying ISIS flags overran the city of more than 200,000 people.
Duterte has earlier said that foreign jihadists from Indonesia, Malaysia and Syria helped the self-styled local terrorists in executing the plan to establish an IS "province or caliphate" in the region.
"We have laid concrete plans on the rehabilitation and reconstruction of your lives and communities. The Task Force Bangon Marawi, composed of various agencies of the government, is being created to hasten recovery efforts in Marawi city," Duterte said in a speech on Tuesday to celebrate Eid'l Fitr at the presidential palace.
China has donated 15 million Philippine pesos (about 300,000 U.S. dollars) for the relief operations and rehabilitation of Marawi.
Communications Assistant Secretary Marie Banaag said at least 422 people have been killed in the ongoing firefight, including 303 terrorists, 44 civilians and 75 soldiers and policemen.
Most of the city residents have fled, and most of the houses and building were either destroyed or torched as troops bombed some villages to flush out the IS-linked terrorists.
Military spokesman Restituto Padilla told reporters that the military offensive "has not waned." In fact, he said, the troops "have kept up the tempo and this is supposed to be as it is until we get to the last armed element."
"We are anxious to finish this fight. We are doing everything to hasten it but the complexity of the battlefield remains to be a main consideration because we don't want to unnecessarily put the lives of our troops in danger," Padilla said.