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Duterte vows to give Marawi back to its native people

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. TOTO LOZANO / PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MARAWI CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday asked the people of Marawi and the Maranaos in general to spare a lot of patience, saying the government remains determined to rebuild the city and give it back to them.

Speaking during his visit here during which he also met with surrendered Maute gunmen, President Duterte spoke of how the government was trying to clear the city of debris to prepare the ground for the project of rebuilding facilities.

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“We are rebuilding Marawi, the money is slowly coming in. It’s not overnight. If it had been cleared already, leveled to the ground, we will return it to you,” he said.

Duterte said what he can assure the Maranaos was that the city would not go to other people who were not natives here.

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“We do not have any ambition. All we want is you give us a little more time so that we can proceed with the rehabilitation,” he added.

President Duterte dispelled perceptions the government was delaying the reentry of residents so that corporations could take over the city.

“Like Boracay, they say I will put gambling there. But what I am thinking is to declare Boracay as a land reform area. I will give it back to the natives there,” he said. He referred to the Boracay natives as Mangyan. They were actually Ati.

He said it was the same thought he had for Lanao.

“I will also declare land reform and government lands will be distributed to the poor,” President Duterte added. “I will pour in money (to develop it).”

The President said in the rehabilitation of the city, the poor will benefit first.

“The targets are the poor Maranao. They will become the priority. The house that will be built will go to those who don’t have one. I will return it to you,” he said. /jpv

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