Military aims to let Marawi City residents home by December
MARAWI CITY – The military is set to allow residents to return to their homes in 24 villages located inside the main battle area between December 15 and December 22.
Joint Task Group Ranao deputy commander Col. Romeo Brawner Jr. revealed this to reporters on Thursday, as he also reported that residents from 72 other villages, which are mostly situated in areas already controlled by the government, have started returning to their respective homes this week.
Brawner, however, said the target dates could still change, depending on the security situation in the areas, but cited the four phases they follow to permit residents to return to their homes.
According to Brawner, the four phases are: clean-up drive; property retrievals and padlocking of houses; restoration of governance; and restoration of vital services such as water and electricity supply, and hospital to ensure that the people have key conveniences when they return.
Brawner also said that Mayor Majul Usman Gandambra had suggested the implementation of an identification system for the residents.
“We will strictly implement the ID system. We already talked to the local officials. While our martial law (is) in effect, we will implement the ID system. The village officials themselves recommended it to ensure (that) no other people can penetrate their villages,” Brawner noted.
“This was emphasized by them during the workshop that we (had) with the village officials. In fact, the other village officials are implementing it already,” he added.
Brawner then explained that the martial law under the late dictator President Ferdinand Marcos is different from President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial rule, which still allowed the local government to function.
“The military respects the local officials. The governor and mayor are functioning, and very soon we can resume the operations of different offices,” he said.
“Not only the residents. The government offices will (also) be coming back to Marawi City,” the military official added.
Earlier, the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) said that of the 465,674 individuals displaced by the armed conflict here, only 27,000 persons were in various evacuation centers in Iligan City and in two Lanao provinces since the rest of the evacuees were in the homes of their relatives in nearby municipalities. /kga