Trillanes asks Senate to probe Marawi crisis, rehabilitation

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 23) — An opposition lawmaker is asking Senate to investigate the events that led to the Marawi crisis and the government's efforts to rehabilitate the war-torn city.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV filed two Senate resolutions to this effect on Wednesday, as the country marked a year since the war between government forces and the ISIS-linked Maute terror group broke out in Marawi, the capital of Lanao del Sur.

Senate Resolution 743 asks the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, chaired by Senator Gringo Honasan, to launch a probe into the circumstances that led to the bloody siege. 

"There should be joint efforts between the Department of National Defense and other government agencies to assess the lessons, including lapses on the part of the government, why the battle between the government forces and the terrorists lasted for five months," Trillanes said.

On the eve of the siege's anniversary on Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte took full responsibility for the Marawi siege and admitted the government had shortcomings in handling the crisis.

A total of 168 soldiers and policemen and 47 civilians were killed before Marawi was declared liberated in October last year. At least 50 people remain missing.

Slow rehabilitation?

Trillanes' other measure, Senate Resolution 742, asks the Senate Special Committee on Marawi City Rehabilitation, an ad hoc committee also chaired by Honasan, to probe the status of the government's efforts to rebuild and rehabilitate Marawi.

"How can the government alleviate their suffering if until now it still has no final and comprehensive rehabilitation plan?" Trillanes said.

Mindanaoan lawmakers Lanao del Sur Rep. Jun Papandayan and Lanao del Norte Rep. Khalid Dimaporo both expressed disappointment over the pace of the rehabilitation and recovery process in Marawi, saying it is moving very slowly.

"Patience is running thin. We are really appealing that Task Force Bangon Marawi brings something to the table, something tangible already," Dimaporo said.

Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, who led the ceremony to honor the fallen heroes of Marawi on Wednesday, appealed for the public's understanding, saying "there is no construction that will happen overnight."

Malacañang said it is "satisfied" with the progress of rehabilitation efforts, saying Duterte trusts Task Force Bangon Marawi to do its job.

The task force said it will take three more years, or until 2021, before the ground zero, or the area most affected by the conflict, to be fully rebuilt.

It added the original schedule to begin rehabilitation was moved back so that the suggestions of residents may be included in the "masterplan." Groundbreaking is set for the third week of June this year.

Thousands still displaced

Trillanes also wants Senate to look into the situation of thousands of displaced Marawi residents.

Malacañang has said 70 percent of over 300,000 displaced residents have returned to their homes. But the International Committee on the Red Cross (ICRC), a global organization that helps people affected by war and armed conflict, puts the number of displaced at 230,000.

Task Force Bangon Marawi on Wednesday assured the residents their homes will not be demolished, in a bid to allay some of the residents' fears.

"We will not demolish private properties without their (residents') request," said Bangon Marawi Field Office Manager Assistant Secretary Felix Castro.

CNN Philippines' Eimor Santos, David Santos, Gerg Cahiles, and Joyce Ilas contributed to this report.