LOOK: Barangay officials, volunteers start Marawi clean-up

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  • The officials and volunteers, led by the military, cleared Barangay Mapandi and Saduk on Thursday.

Marawi City (CNN Philippines, October 19) — For the first time since the government regained control of Marawi City, barangay officials and volunteers were allowed to clean up the destruction in the war-torn city on Thursday to prepare for the return of its displaced residents.

It was also the first time the clean-up team was able to see the ruins caused by 149 days of intense fighting between government troops and members of the ISIS-linked Maute group.

Over 300,000 displaced civilians will return by barangays and by batches. Military officials said they plan to allow the first batch of residents to return to their houses starting October 25.

Barangays officials will need to come up with a list of their constituents and might even have to hand out identification cards. Those not in the list, will not be allowed to return.

Communities near the Baloi Bridge, more commonly known as Mapandi Bridge, are among the first to be cleared to pave the way for the eventual return of civilians. Authorities gave village officials and their volunteers the go signal to go back to their communities.

There are stages in preparations for the civilians' return, including the clean-up of communities and padlocking of abandoned homes. The Army is calling on officials to be careful to avoid claims of looting, especially in houses that were ransacked by terrorists during the war.

Barangay halls, schools, mosques, and health centers will have to be repaired, while power and water supply need to be restored.

President Rodrigo Duterte declared Marawi City liberated from terror influences on October 17 after almost five months of rebellion. Military is continuing their offensives against less than 20 remaining terrorists in the area.