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Restoration of normalcy in Marawi City begins

by UNTV   |   Posted on Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Of the 95 villages in Marawi City, 33 are heavily damaged by the more than four months of clashes between the government troops and the ISIS-inspired Maute terror group.

In these areas, the structures damaged by the bombs and ammunition can no longer be used.

While in areas considered controlled, the homes of residents remain intact.

The local government is currently processing the return of the evacuated residents back to their homes but the displaced residents still have to undergo a process before returning home like cleaning their communities.

“Mayroon po tayong (we will have)  clustering after the clean-up drive. We would have a phasing, a clustering , pagkatapos po ng restoration ng mga (following restoration of) facilities, government facilities and services within the controlled area including yung mga schools natin (our schools). Pababalikin natin yung mga residente natin dito sa (we can then allow residents to return to their homes in the controlled area,” said Provincial Crisis Management Committee spokesperson Zia Alonto Adiong.

Only 44% of households and establishments in Marawi City are without electricity. These are the villages within the main battle area.

There is also no water supply in the area.

The local government unit of Lanao del Sur explained that once residents in the controlled area can finally return home, they will still have to undergo a screening process with the help of village officials.

The LGU also plans to provide passes to the residents allowed to return home.

“Remember this calamity is not brought about by typhoon or an earthquake. This is a product of an armed conflict and there are several allegedly sympathizers are still outside so of course, we want to secure our residents,” said Adiong.

Meanwhile, residents evacuated from the main battle area will stay in temporary shelters.

Before the year ends, they are expected to be transferred to the temporary shelters.

“We are discussing the reparation for the civilian properties damaged. We have no official master plan for rehabilitation yet because everything now is what we call recommendation,” said the spokesperson.

Meanwhile, authorities have recovered 144 dead bodies within the war zone.

133 of the cadavers have already been buried including terrorist leaders Isnilon Hapilon and Omar Maute while 61 individuals are still missing due to the clashes. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue

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DDB to prioritize expansion of community-based rehabilitation program — Cuy

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Community-based rehabilitation program

MANILA, Philippines — One of the primary priorities of the new leadership of the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) is the expansion of community-based rehabilitation program of the government.

DDB chairman Catalino Cuy believes that, through this, the number of individuals who will use illegal drugs will be reduced since the monitoring will be more intensive as the campaign will start from the barangay level.

“As I was saying, we will give importance to drug clearing. We will be also requiring local barangay executives to monitor barangays since clients, the ‘grassroots’ are here,” Cuy said.

The new DDB chairman also supports Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Martin Diño’s proposal to require each barangay in the Philippines to submit a list of drug suspects.

And even though some human rights groups are opposed to the idea, Cuy assured that the government will conduct a thorough validation to assure the identity of those involved in illegal drugs.

“Like the time when there was still Masa-Masid. The program had three objectives—anti-illegal drug, anti-corruption, anti-criminality, anti-violent extremism”

The government will also look into the police operational procedures of each law enforcement agency in the country to protect the drug suspects’ human rights.

Cuy is the 23rd chairman of DDB and replaced Dionisio Santiago following the latter’s resignation in November last year. — Mai Bermudez | UNTV News & Rescue

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800 temporary shelters officially turned over to residents affected by Marawi siege

by UNTV   |   Posted on Thursday, December 28th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Before 2017 ends, families in Marawi City who have been staying in evacuation centers for almost seven months because of the Marawi siege will be able to transfer to their temporary shelters.

President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday led the turnover ceremony by the National Housing Authority (NHA) of 500 temporary shelters in Barangay Sagongsongan, Marawi City.

The NHA said that 250 units are ready for occupancy before 2017 ends while the other 250 units can be occupied on January 7, 2018.

“The houses are furnished with electricity and water line. However, electricity needs to be connected to the main line as well as the water supply needs to be connected to the main line that’s why we’re delaying the actual occupancy of the houses,” said Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) Chairman Eduardo del Rosario.

Marawi City Mayor Majul Gandamra said, “Priority will be given to those who are in dire need especially those who are staying in evacuation centers and those renting outside the city.”

Another 300 temporary shelters from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) were also turned over on Wednesday in Matungao, Lanao del Norte.

The government is targeting to provide a total of 1,170 temporary shelters by February 2018.

Aside from temporary shelters, various government agencies such as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Agriculture, and Social Welfare and Development gave toolkits, pre-employment assistance fund, equipment for farming and fishing and other means of livelihood  for the affected residents.

“We have created a special program which will give financing interest-free up to 100,000 for eligible borrowers who have already put up their business before and we will ask for certain documents showing that they just need to start again,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

The government plans to subsidize the electric bills of the residents for six months.

Residents will also continue to receive food stubs from the government.

Meanwhile, government military forces are still in Marawi City to secure the place and help in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the city. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

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Philippine Marines train with Australian army on urban warfare after Marawi battle

by UNTV   |   Posted on Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

MANILA, Philippines — Two months after the war in the Marawi City came to an end, Melijie Powao has yet to locate her husband.

Her husband was working as a construction worker in Marawi and was one of the hostages of the Maute terror group.

“The war is over but we still don’t know what really happened to our husbands. I hope the government can help us in finding the truth,” said Melijie.

“As long as there’s no corpse, I refuse to believe that he’s dead,” she said.

While Melijie continues to search for her missing husband, the military is also still sweeping the main battle area.

This is part of the clearing operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) where military troops assess each area to ensure that it is clear of bombs or traps left by terrorists.

“We now have our EOD teams or our explosive ordinance disposal teams going around in these areas. They’ve divided the 24 barangays into sectors and they’re now clearing each sector one day at a time,” said Joint Task Force Ranao Deputy Commander Col. Romeo Brawner, Jr.

Meanwhile, a battalion of the Philippine Marines underwent urban training exercise with the Australian military.

“We do not want to see terrorist groups like ISIS establishing in Southeast Asia. We consider that not just as a threat to the Philippines or the Southeast Asian Region, but also a threat to Australia’s own national security. So, that’s why we think it’s important to provide whatever assistance we can to the countries of Southeast Asia to deal with the threat that is, unfortunately, in our midst,” said Australian ambassador to the Philippines, Amanda Gorely.

This is part of the series of training pledged by Australia to the AFP after Marawi City was liberated from terrorist influence.

It can be recalled the urban warfare became a huge challenge to Filipino troops as they were not used to fight in such a setup.

“The new techniques that we acquired from the Australian defense force are very, very important to all of us. This is very applicable now that we are fighting a new type of enemy, a new type of design of spectrum of warfare,” said Philippine Marine Corps Commandant Major General Alvin Parreño.

Another batch of Filipino soldiers will undergo the said training in January next year.

It can be recalled Australia lent two P3 Orion spy planes to Filipino troops for its intelligence gathering during the clashes in Marawi City. — Victor Cosare | UNTV News & Rescue


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