PH welcomes foreign aid for Marawi rehab
Malacañang on Friday said the government was open to receiving foreign aid for the rebuilding of conflict-torn Marawi City.
“The President’s invitation for international partners to aid in rebuilding is not synonymous with humanitarian crisis. He said in numerous occasions that we welcome foreign assistance in the Marawi situation especially in the rehabilitation, reconstruction and recovery phase especially now that troops are about to liberate the city from lawless elements,” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said during the Mindanao Hour briefing in Davao City.
In a speech in Clark, Pampanga on Wednesday, Duterte invited allies of the Philippines to help in the rebuilding of Marawi City.
“As our troops wrap up our operations against the remaining terrorists in Marawi, I also welcome our international partners into looking forward to rebuilding the city. This invitation extends to our allies who share with the principles of goodwill and non-interference in our domestic affairs,” the President said.
Abella said foreign aid from other countries were part of “shared commitment” to fight terrorism and achieve peace.
“It is normal for friends and allies to support each other which need a helping all. After all we have our shared commitment with other countries to combat terrorism and attain sustainable peace,” he said.
The United States, China and Australia have extended assistance to the Philippines through intelligence-sharing or monetary aid as government forces continue to battle Islamic State-inspired extremists in Marawi.
In pursuing an “independent” foreign policy, President Rodrigo Duterte has said the Philippines will reject foreign help if they come with strings attached.
Eastern Mindanao ‘generally peaceful’
Asked about the timeline of how long the rehabilitation in Marawi would last, he said the government was not imposing a specific date.
“As to when the recovery and rehabilitation would last, the Bangon Marawi plan has a short term and a long term timeline depending on the activities involved. So we are not giving any dates,” he said.
Gen. Gilbert Gapay, deputy commander of the Eastern Mindanao Command, said the military had “effectively shielded Eastern Mindanao” from further terrorist attacks.
“So after 38 days of martial law, (the) Eastern Mindanao Command, under the leadership of Lieutenant General Guerrero, who is also the martial law implementor in Eastern Mindanao, has continuously prevented the spillover or spread of the Marawi crisis in our area of responsibility,” Gapay said during the briefing.
“We have effectively shielded Eastern Mindanao from terrorist attacks and deterred any diversionary, retaliatory or sympathetic attacks by the local terrorist groups here in Eastern Mindanao,” he added.
The military official said “Eastern Mindanao remains generally peaceful, safe, and secure.”
“We have also denied terrorists from making our area a safe haven, as their safe havens, sanctuaries, and even as transit points. This is largely attributed to the tightened security measures being implemented by the Command,” he said. IDL
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