Rebuilding of Marawi ground zero to start on 'liberation' anniversary

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 12) — Reconstruction in the ravaged areas of war-torn Marawi will start on October 17, the first anniversary of President Rodrigo Duterte's declaration of the city's "liberation" from terrorist forces.

Task Force Bangon Marawi (TFBM) on Friday said it is ready for the groundbreaking.

"Our people are now on the ground preparing for this," Task Force Bangon Marawi Chairperson and Housing Secretary Eduardo Del Rosario said in a press briefing.

"Since October 17 is very significant as the declared day of liberation of Marawi as declared by the President, we find it fitting that the groundbreaking will be on October 17 also," he added.

While the start of the construction had been postponed several times, Del Rosario believes they will be able to catch up with their target date this time.

READ: Rebuilding Marawi's ground zero delayed by failure of China-led consortium  

He said the October 17 target, however, is still subject to change depending on the availability of the President for the groundbreaking rites.

Del Rosario also revealed that the government has awarded to FINMAT International Resources Inc. the P75-million project in clearing the debris in the pilot six-hectare area in Marawi.

This is the first of 24 sub-projects under the Marawi rehabilitation. Del Rosario said they will negotiate with the developers for every single sub-project to ensure that the government will get the best deal at a low price.

The government has chosen FINMAT and Beijing-based Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) to undertake the P17-billion rehabilitation project in Marawi's ground zero, which is composed of 24 barangays or 250 hectares of land.

These were the hardest hit by the heavy fighting between government forces and terrorists from May to October last year. Some 300,000 residents were displaced, while houses and buildings were turned to rubble. More than 900 terrorists, 47 civilians, and 165 government troops were killed.