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Marawi City rehab could cost up to P150 billion

If the war itself costed the government P5 billion, it would take up to P150 billion to restore the structures of the besieged city of Marawi and to provide basic services, livelihood and shelter for almost 400,000 residents, GMA News' Joseph Morong reported Tuesday for "24 Oras."

The armed conflict in Marawi is longest-running conflict to take place in the country since World War II with almost five months of gunfire and shelling, the city is left in ruins.

The Office of Civil Defense (OCD) said a total of 78,466 families or 359,680 people were displaced in the government's war with the Maute-ISIS group that has dragged on for more than five months.

The OCD, together with the Department of National Defense (DND), estimate the overall rehabilitation to cost at least P100 billion up to P150 billion.

The bulk of the rehabilitation work will be implemented by the Task Force Bangon Marawi, which is headed by the chairman, the secretary of National Defense and composed of 42 government agencies.

The task force is waiting for a go signal from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to enter the affected area, including the main battle area to conduct damage assessment.

The task force is expected to finish the damage assessment by Oct. 27.

"Illustrating the damages. DaLA 'to, damage and losses. So the buildings, 'yong infrastructure, basic services, roads, for example, and delivery of basic services," said task force spokesperson Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James Purisima.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government has spent P5 billion to finance the fight to retake Marawi city from the terrorists.

According to the report, Task Force Bangon Marawi is looking at either fixing the houses; demolishing then rebuilding them; or build new homes on a different location.

For now, the residents are not yet allowed to return to their homes because there is still sporadic gun fights in the city.

Purisima said efforts are in place to provide homes for 1,500 residents, who applied for transitional homes. Applicants were willing to wait until the houses have been built in December.

"Hopefully mabibigyan natin ang 1,500 families ng transitional shelters. Iba 'to doon sa mga gustong bumalik na hindi kumuha ng transitional shelters o hindi nag-signify," he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared Marawi City free from the ISIS-inspired Maute Group on Tuesday following the deaths of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon and Maute leader Omar Maute.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I hereby declare Marawi City liberated from the terrorist influence that marks the beginning of the rehabilitation," he said.

AFP spokesperson Maj. Gen. Restituto Padilla said military forces had never exerted much effort and firepower in Philippine history.

"In fact, the ordnance that we have dropped inside Marawi have been more than those that we have used in Zamboanga and elsewhere," Padilla said.

The siege of Zamboanga in 2013 resulted in casualties and extensive damage amounting to more than P200 million.

For the Marawi City siege, a total of 847 Maute members, 163 government troops, and 47 civilians have been killed as of Tuesday. — Margaret Claire Layug/BAP, GMA News