More relief goods than ammo now being sent to Marawi
ILIGAN CITY — The war on terror in Marawi appears to be ending, with the volume of munitions the government is shipping to the city diminishing, a ranking Navy official said on Tuesday.
Cmdr. Gaylord Santos, executive officer of the Philippine Navy vessel BRP Davao del Sur, said that of the 200 tons of cargo the ship brought in on Tuesday from Manila, less than a quarter consisted of various types of ammunition, including artillery shells.
“From this indication, I could say that the fighting is really waning,” Santos said.
He said that when the BRP Davao del Sur first docked here on June 19, it carried mostly ammunition and other materiel.
“Now, we have about 50 tons of relief goods for evacuees, a few tons of food and other supply for our troops and heavy equipment like bulldozers,” Santos said.
He said the heavy equipment would be used in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi City.
In a statement, Brig. Gen. Ramiro Manuel Rey, commander of Task Force Ranao, said the military’s engineering unit had been tasked to lead the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the city.
Rey said half of the military’s engineering capability would be deployed to Marawi.
“This is part of the rehabilitation plan of the national government to fully bring back the vibrant economy of Marawi,” he said.
“Two out of the four Army Engineer Brigades will be utilized as the core units of the Joint Engineering Task Force for the reconstruction of Marawi,” he said.
Rey said Army engineers would be supported by other units, such as the Naval Engineer Brigade “Seabees” of the Navy and units from the Air Force’s different Engineer Wings.
“The 52nd and 54th Engineer Brigades were named as the core units of the engineering task force,” Rey added.
The rehabilitation and reconstruction of Marawi will not be the first time military engineers will participate in civilian development.
Since 2007, military engineers have constructed more than 2,000 community-related projects across the country, including school buildings, farm to market roads, rural electrification projects, barangay water systems and day care and health centers.
Most of the projects were in conflict-affected areas that civilian construction companies could not penetrate.
The fighting in Marawi is now limited to a square-kilometer pocket of the city where Islamic State-inspired Maute and Abu Sayyaf terrorists are holed up.
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